Three related tour companies in Hawaii have been hit with a lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday against Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Hawaii Tours and Transportation, and Big Kahuna Luau, alleges that they violated federal anti-discrimination laws by allowing the ongoing sexual harassment of male employees.
According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Leo Malagon, the president of Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, sexually harassed young men who were either seeking employment or working for his companies with allegations going back more than a decade. The allegations include invitations to sex parties, displaying pornographic images, and requiring applicants and employees to expose themselves and/or perform unwanted sexual acts.
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 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (EEOC v. Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Inc., Case No: 1:17-cv-00067) 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, and 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.”
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.
The company, who is doing business as Discover Hawaii Tours, says it cannot comment on pending legal matters.