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After $2.3 Million Settlement, Fry's Denies Sexual Harassment Claims

Fry's Electronics recently entered into a consent decree related to sexual harassment that took place in 2007 against then-20-year-old employee America Rios by an assistant store manager. The electronics store has agreed to pay $2.3 million to end the harassment and retaliation lawsuit and to improve company policies intended to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation.

The sexually harassing behavior took place via text message. An assistant manager had propositioned Rios as well as made inappropriate comments about her body via text. He also invited then-underage Rios to come to his home for drinks.

Ka Lam, a former supervisor for Fry's Electronics, reported the harassment on behalf of Rios and was fired. Lam was told that he was being fired because of his work performance despite positive reviews, but the sexual harassment lawsuit also contained claims for wrongful termination or retaliatory discharge.

Lam was not reinstated at Fry's as part of the consent decree and has since relocated to California from the Renton, Washington store where the sexual harassment and retaliation occurred.

Lam and Rios will split the majority of the $2.3 million settlement. Despite the massive settlement, Fry's insists that it has done nothing wrong and that the settlement does not reflect an admission by the electronics company that it "engaged in discrimination, harassment or retaliation."

Fry's was fined $100,000 for failing to cooperate with the EEOC in the sexual harassment investigation. According to the EEOC, Fry's destroyed evidence, withheld evidence and held up the legal process by filing frivolous motions with the court.

Source: LA Times, "Fry's Electronics to pay $2.3 million in sexting harassment case," August 13, 2012

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