The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal lawsuit on July 31, 2014 against Seapod Pawnbrokers, a Brooklyn and Queens-based business, alleging that its owner harassed workers because of their sex, race, and ethnicity, and then fired them for complaining.
According to the agency’s press release,
the harassment included referring to employees, most of whom were Hispanic, as “my Seapod bitches”; cursing at them; asking for graphic details about how they used toilet paper and tampons; and commenting about putting cameras in the women’s bathroom. The owner threatened women with physical violence and termination; joked about women being his “whipping slaves”; and ordered them to “dance for me”; serve as his maid; and give him massages or belly rubs. The owner also openly disparaged his African-American customers, referring to them as “black bastards” and stating that the store smelled because “the monkeys are coming in.” When the employees resisted his advances or complained about the harassment, he increased the hostility and, ultimately, terminated them.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, is captioned EEOC v. Seapod Pawnbrokers, Inc., d/b/a Seapod Pawnbrokers, and Seapod Capital Group, LLC, d/b/a Seapod Pawnbrokers, Case No. No. 14-CV-04567.