Star Tribune settles sexual harassment suit

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 26, 2009 - 9:04 PM

A settlement between the Star Tribune and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding sexual harassment of female employees has won final approval in U.S. District Court.

The newspaper will pay between $305,000 and $325,000, depending on the number of women who step forward. The settlement applies to female employees of the Star Tribune's mailroom at the newspaper's Heritage Production Facility between August 2005 and the present.

According to the EEOC's suit, filed in September 2008, the Star Tribune created a sexually hostile work environment for two named women who had filed charges with the EEOC, as well as for a class of similarly situated women. The harassment included inappropriate comments, "dirty jokes" and sex-based statements, according to the EEOC.

Ben Taylor, Star Tribune senior vice president for marketing and communications, said newspaper officials disagree with the EEOC's allegations and believe they would have prevailed in court. But, he said, the newspaper decided to settle the case to avoid "the distraction and expense of extended litigation."

According to the settlement, the Star Tribune agreed to take several other steps, including:

•Prohibiting sexual harassment or retaliation against female employees in the mailroom.

•Employing a supervisor or manager for the mailroom for every shift.

•Employing a human resources representative with responsibility for the mailroom, including monitoring and resolving complaints of workers there.

•Providing annual training on preventing sexual harassment and retaliation to mailroom managers and supervisors.

James Walsh • 612-673-7428

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