Chicago-based home healthcare provider Help at Home, Inc. has agreed to pay $302,500.00 to three former female employees at the company’s Hillsboro, Missouri office to settle an EEOC sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit.
The EEOC claims that three female employees were sexually harassed by their bad boss, Home Area Manager Christine Qualls, and then fired in retaliation after the women complained about the sexual harassment to the CEO of Help at Home.
According to the EEOC, Qualls created a sexually hostile work environment for her three employees by making unwanted sexual comments and sexual propositions to them. Qualls also allegedly engaged in sexual activities with her girlfriend in her office.
The three women sent a letter of complaint to Help at Home CEO Ron Ford, and Regional Vice President Rick Cantrell came to the Hillsboro office several days later to interview the women. The EEOC claims that Cantrell showed the women blank termination and disciplinary forms when he interviewed them “and told them their answers to his questions would determine which form they would be given.”
One of the employees was demoted later that day, another was fired by Qualls about three weeks later, and the third was terminated four months later.
The EEOC claims that Help at Home took no disciplinary action against Qualls for her alleged sexual harassing behavior.
EEOC attorney Barbara Seely said, “Sexual harassment is unacceptable and illegal whether it is engaged in by a supervisor of the opposite sex or the same sex. The company further compounded its illegal conduct by discharging the complaining employees as retaliation.”