Walmart will pay $410,000 to settle a sex harassment suit brought on behalf of a plaintiff in New York State.

According to the lawsuit, from 2014 to 2018 a male employee of Walmart’s store in Geneva, N.Y., regularly made unwelcome sexual comments and advances to female co-workers and touched female co-workers without their consent. The lawsuit alleged that Walmart management knew of the conduct for years, including having received written complaints.

The lawsuit charged that the male employee regularly made vulgar comments about the bodies of female employees, including commenting on female co-workers’ breasts and buttocks. The suit further alleged that the male employee subjected female workers to unwanted touchings, including pressing his crotch against a co-worker’s buttocks. According to the lawsuit complaint, he told one female co-worker, “I can’t wait to see you in these,” referring to thong underwear. The suit also alleged that the male employee repeatedly invited female employees to hang out alone with him despite being rejected, and graphically stated that he wanted to have sex with female co-workers who had told him they were not interested.

The lawsuit further charged that one female employee, whom was harassed for years and who reported the employee’s misconduct to management multiple times, was forced to resign when Walmart management failed to stop his harassment and instead advised her to “stand up” for herself and put her “big girl panties on.”

Bottom Line:

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon that harassment lawsuits contain claims that managers or HR workers ignored complaints of misconduct. This is why it is important for employees to make such reports in writing or via email (with a copy to their personal email account) so it can later be proved they made the complaint.

If an employee makes such a report and the company does nothing or retaliates against the employee, then they should seek out a competent employment lawyer immediately.