The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the Star Tribune newspaper over alleged sexual harrassment in the paper's mailroom.
The EEOC filed the suit on behalf of female employees who complained about a hostile work environment. EEOC senior trial attorney Laurie Vasichek says women were subjected to sexist slurs, dirty jokes, and comments about body parts.
"When they objected, they were told that they should ignore it because, after all, this is the 'male room -- M-A-L-E.' That was a statement by a coworker of theirs," said Vasichek.
Vasichek says an EEOC investigation found that female employees complained to Star Tribune officials, but the company failed to take effective action. A Star Tribune executive has not returned a phone call seeking comment, but is quoted on the newspaper's Web site as saying the paper's investigation found behavior in the mailroom that was inappropriate, but not illegal.
Vasichek says the lawsuit filed today names two women as plaintiffs, but she says at least one of the 75 other female employees in the mailroom will be added. The suit seeks unspecified damages. Settlement talks are ongoing.