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Workers in Tennessee and around the country are protected from workplace discrimination based on their race, religion, gender or national origin by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When evidence of unfair treatment is discovered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employees are sent a letter by the agency giving them the right to sue their employers.

Such a letter was sent in February to a former worker at a Gucci store in Chicago after the EEOC determined that her allegations of sexual harassment were believable. The woman has since filed a lawsuit claiming a hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment seeking $10 million in damages. In addition to detailing several instances of vulgar and inappropriate behavior, the lawsuit alleges that Gucci management ignored the woman’s complaints and promoted her alleged abuser.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was told by her supervisor to ignore the lewd comments and suggestive behavior that she was regularly subjected to. This failure to act is said to have emboldened the assistant store manager identified in the lawsuit to the point where he exposed himself to the woman in a storeroom. When further efforts to address the problem through corporate channels were allegedly rebuffed, the woman resigned her position and contacted the EEOC.

Employees subjected to discriminatory behavior or harassment at work often leave their jobs when their complaints are ignored. While resignation in such situations may be understandable, it could make pursuing legal remedies more difficult. Attorneys with experience in this area may encourage workers to document all instances of abuse or harassment and list the names of any witnesses present.