HONOLULU, Hawaii—Three related Hawaii tour companies—Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Inc., Hawaii Tours and Transportation, Inc., and Big Kahuna Luau, Inc.—violated federal anti-discrimination laws by allowing the ongoing sexual harassment of male employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it filed last week.
According to EEOC lawsuit, the president of Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours engaged in a pattern of sexually harassing young males after recruiting them to work for his companies.
The harassment, which spanned more than a decade, included inviting males to join in sex parties with him; showing them pornographic videos and photos; requiring them to show him their private parts in order to be considered for employment; making employment opportunities contingent upon engaging in sexual acts with him; and performing unwanted sexual acts on male employees.
The EEOC further contends that when employees complained about the harassment, the company failed to take corrective action. Some male employees felt that they had no other recourse but to quit. In some instances, the president retaliated against male employees after they complained about the harassment to their supervisors, according to the suit.
Such alleged conduct violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency’s suit seeks back pay, along with compensatory and punitive damages for a class of individuals, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent any future discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
“All employees, regardless of gender, have the right to work in a harassment-free workplace and should never be forced to endure such abuse,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction. “I applaud these young men for coming forward to tell their stories.”
Glory Gervacio Saure, director of the EEOC’s Honolulu office, added, “Harassment is alleged in 31 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC. When employers fail to address workplace harassment, employees often feel that they must choose between putting up with the abuse or quitting. No one should have to make that choice.”
According to the company’s website, www.discoverhiddenhawaiitours.com, Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours provides guided tours of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai.
Individuals who may have experienced sexual harassment or have information pertaining to sexual harassment in connection with employment at Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours should contact the EEOC at 808-541-3133 for more information.
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. (EEOC)