EEOC Charges Hawaii Vet Clinic with Gender Bias

October 4, 2010 ( – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged that the East Hawaii Veterinary Center, LLC, a veterinary clinic in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, sexually harassed, fired and/or forced out a group of women employees due to their gender.

An EEOC news release said at least six female employees, ranging from receptionists to a veterinarian, were since 2005 subjected to extremely offensive, vulgar comments geared solely toward female staff by a co-owner of the clinic. The EEOC alleged that on a near-daily basis, the co-owner insulted the women by calling them “worthless” and other extremely vulgar epithets, and generally treated the women differently. The male staff was not subjected to such insults and hostile behavior.

Ultimately, the EEOC contends that the offending co-owner fired at least three of the victims and forced the others to quit.  The EEOC asserts that one receptionist complained about the harassment to a different co-owner, who acknowledged that the behavior was inappropriate, yet took no action to stop it. 

The suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the class, as well as injunctive relief.

“Supervisors and top managers have a higher duty to ensure a workplace free of hostility,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction over Hawaii. “Women have the right to work without the utter degradation displayed here, and the EEOC will fight to ensure that employers pay for such injustices.”