Allstar Fitness, Seattle, has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The agency claimed that a Latina janitorial worker who worked at two Allstar Fitness clubs in Seattle was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her immediate supervisor. The EEOC also said that the supervisor forced her to have sex with him on a regular basis and warned her to keep quiet about it.
When the worker told the supervisor not to harass her anymore, he fired her the next day, according to the EEOC investigation. After she reported the supervisor to the company’s upper management, the EEOC and the worker claim that Allstar Fitness failed to investigate the matter and expressed disbelief in her allegations.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in July 2010 on behalf of the 38-year-old worker, a mother of three.
“I needed the job to provide for my children and my mother,” she said in a statement from her lawyers. “I knew I was supposed to keep quiet to keep my job, but I could not go along with it anymore. I am just glad that this is over and now the company must take steps to make sure this will not happen to anyone else.”
EEOC District Director Michael Baldonado said the settlement will ensure that Allstar Fitness implements employee training, written workplace policies and a complaint procedure “to help prevent this from happening again.”
“No one should be forced to choose between personal dignity and the paycheck that feeds your family,” Baldonado said.
In addition to the two clubs in Seattle, Allstar Fitness operates clubs in Tacoma, WA, and Portland, OR. The company has not immediately responded to a request seeking comment about the settlement, although a person in the corporate office acknowledged that the company is aware of the settlement.