Blockbuster to pay $2 million to settle discrimination suit

Sexual MisconductJobs and WorkplaceU.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionBlockbusterJustice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeBankruptcy

Blockbuster Inc. has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle a lawsuit in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the retailer of subjecting female employees to sexual harassment, the agency's Baltimore office said Wednesday.

The EEOC had charged the Dallas-based entertainment retailer with subjecting the temporary workers to harassment, retaliating against them for resisting sexual advances and discriminating against Hispanic temporary workers. The events occurred in 2004 and 2005 in a Gaithersburg distribution center, the lawsuit said.

Blockbuster representatives could not be reached Wednesday.

The lawsuit accused male supervisors at Blockbuster of participating in and condoning the harassment of seven female workers, including four Hispanic employees. Incidents included requests for sexual favors, yelling, insults, threats, unwelcome sex-related questioning, offensive racial remarks and other discriminatory behavior, the EEOC said. The conduct led to the employees' being denied work hours, being fired or being forced to resign, the EEOC said.

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy while the case was pending and was acquired by Dish Network.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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