The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that ABM Industries, Inc., together with two of its subsidiaries, ABM Janitorial Services, Inc. and ABM Janitorial Services Northern California, Inc. will pay $5.8 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed on behalf of 21 Hispanic female janitorial workers.
The women claimed that they were sexually harassed and assaulted on an ongoing basis by 14 male bosses and coworkers in the Fresno, Bakersfield and Visalia areas of California’s Central Valley region. One of the ABM bosses named in the lawsuit is Jose Vasquez, a convicted rapist who is profiled on the California Registered Sex Offender website.
According to the complaint:
JOSE VASQUEZ was hired by ABM INC despite the fact that ABM INC supervisors had contemporaneous express knowledge of JOSE VASQUEZ’s criminal background. ABM INC and its supervisors had contemporaneous express knowledge of JOSE VASQUEZ’s criminal background when assigning JOSE VASQUEZ to supervise INTERVENOR PLAINTIFFS and other female employees to work in isolated conditions late at night under his control.
The sexually harassing behavior was perpetrated by supervisors and included, but was not limited to the following: unwelcome touching, explicit sexual commentary and quid pro quo sexual harassment. One of Defendants’ supervisors JOSE VASQUEZ raped a female employee at the worksite. ABM INC supervisor JOSE VASQUEZ repeatedly hugged female employees, including INTERVENOR PLAINTIFFS from behind and groped their private parts with his hands. On several occasions, ABM INC supervisor JOSE VASQUEZ exposed himself and tried to force the female employees to touch him sexually. ABM INC supervisor JOSE VASQUEZ repeatedly subjected the female employees to leering, suggestive and propositioning language.
Supervisors offered female employees positions where they would drive a company vehicle and/or supervise employees in exchange for sex. Defendants failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly the sexually harassing behavior.