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L.A. call center firm to pay $600,000 in sexual harassment settlement

A Los Angeles-based call center company has agreed to pay $600,000 and make other changes to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency said Monday.

The settlement stems from a September 2014 lawsuit filed by the EEOC, which alleged that nine employees at VXI Global Solutions were subject to a hostile work environment beginning in 2009, the EEOC said.

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According to the EEOC, female employees were groped and subjected to "constant or continued" sexual propositions by male supervisors.

The federal agency said male employees also received repeated sexual advances including "unwanted lap dances" and "physical rubbing" by female supervisors. Men who refused to participate were accused of being gay, according to the EEOC.

In addition to paying $600,000 to the nine employees, VXI Global Solutions agreed to hire a consultant to provide training for employees and management and to make sure the company complies with federal laws on discrimination, according to a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The consultant will also make sure the company creates a centralized system for tracking sexual harassment and retaliation complaints, according to the consent decree.

VXI Global Solutions also agreed to conduct surveys at company sites in Texas and Ohio, as well as Los Angeles, and to post a notice of the terms of the consent decree at its Los Angeles office, according to the court documents.

"Employers must take more proactive steps to address complaints of sexual harassment," Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District, said in a statement. "It is also illegal under federal law to retaliate against employees who exercise their right to report harassment or discrimination."

An attorney for VXI Global Solutions did not immediately comment.

VXI Global Solutions provides call center services for major companies.

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