The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing three related Hawaiian tourism companies for sexual harassment and related charges that allegedly occurred for several years
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 15 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, alleges three companies under the same management -- Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Hawaii Tours and Transportation and Big Kahuna Luau -- failed to take action when employees complained about sexual harassment by president Leo Malagon.
According to the suit, which includes allegations from four different claimants, the harassment dates to 2006. In every case, the employee was male and said they were the subject of unwanted sexual comments and advances from Malagon.
"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 said in a statement.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that others in the company, once notified of Malagon's actions, moved to retaliate against the employees through such actions as negative performance reviews.
The charges, which pertain to the harassment, retaliation and loss of employment, are all violations of the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction to prevent future discrimination and harassment.
"Harassment is alleged in 31% of all charges filed with the EEOC," Glory Gervacio Saure, director of the EEOC's Honolulu Local Office, said in the statement. "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."
Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, which operates on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, and Kauai, has said it will not discuss pending legal matters.