Sexual harassment claim by hotel worker leads to EEOC lawsuit

A male manager’s alleged pattern of sexual harassment — which authorities say included exposing his genitalia, grabbing a female worker’s chest and propositioning the woman for sex — has landed the management company in hot water with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The federal agency filed a lawsuit this week against Vacation Resorts International, which provides management and marketing services to timeshare resorts, including Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

That’s where the woman, identified by the EEOC as Katrina Archer, worked in grounds-keeping and housekeeping. According to the agency, a male assistant housekeeping manager started touching and propositioning Archer in March of 2014, and displayed the same behavior toward other women at the company.

A housekeeping manager did not prevent the actions after multiple complaints, according to the lawsuit, and Archer was suspended and then fired in June of 2015.

The EEOC found reasonable cause that the man had subjected female workers to a “sexually hostile work environment”and that Archer was fired “based on her sex and in retaliation for opposing the sexually hostile work environment.” Efforts failed to work out a conciliation agreement with the company, a required step before filing a lawsuit.

In the complaint, the agency seeks back pay, front pay and/or reinstatement, compensatory damages and punitive damages. It also demands that the company carry out policies that provide equal employment opportunities for women.

Vacation Resorts International is owned by South Miami-based Interval Leisure Group. An Interval spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.