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TV Station Must Pay $185,000

Feb 15, 2005 | Monterey County Herald

A federal civil rights official hailed a $185,000 settlement Monday in a sexual harassment lawsuit against a Monterey Spanish-language television station.

The settlement was announced last week between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Entravision Communications Corp., a Santa Monica-based affiliate of Spanish-language global giant Univision.

"That's very important because in this industry there are very few jobs in Spanish-language television in terms of careers," said William Tamayo, the commission's regional attorney in San Francisco.

The EEOC filed suit in November 2003 on behalf of two former news employees at KSMS channel 67 and other female workers who were allegedly sexually harassed by the station's former news director.

The two news reporter said the news director harassed them during 2000 and 2001 by forcibly kissing, touching, grabbing and propositioning the women.

The federal suit accused Entravision of ignoring the women's complaints about the supervisor's conduct and punishing them for reporting him. According to the EEOC, Long was fired for allegedly refusing his advances, and Medina quit the station after it failed to prevent the harassment.

"Hopefully this settlement will send a message to other employers they have to take steps," Tamayo said.

A third woman, a former news assistant who became a reporter, also was a target of harassment, Tamayo said. The three victims will share the monetary settlement, he said. Her name was not immediately available.

"You should not have to choose between livelihood and peace of mind," Medina was quoted in an EEOC news release.

Entravision also agreed to develop anti-harassment policies and a complaint procedure to be distributed to employees in English and Spanish and to ensure all current employees at the Monterey station receive anti-harassment training.

"Any company should know they should provide training for all supervisors," Tamayo said.

A new California law requires companies with 50 or more employees to have supervisors undergo at least two hours of anti-harassment training, he said.

Tamayo said he is glad Entravision worked with the federal agency to reach the settlement, the latest of several sexual-harassment cases brought against Monterey County companies.

A company spokeswoman didn't return a phone message Monday.

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