Benzino & Mays To Face Fed Judge Over Sex Beef, Female Employees Take Case To Top Court
The November 29th issue of "The Daily Dose," an e-mail newsletter issued by The Source, proclaimed an apparent victory for the mag in their Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sexual harassment fight with former employees, Osorio and Michelle Joyce, the magazine's former vice president of marketing.
"We've filed an explosive response to [Osorio's] allegation denying everything," explained The Source's attorney Mercedes Colwin in the newsletter. "The EEOC did their investigation. After six months and no findings they're closing their file on them."
Not so Osorio tells SOHH.com, who addressed "The Daily Dose" report as misleading. "Their statement seemed like a desperate attempt to distract people who aren't familiar with the [EEOC] procedure."
As SOHH.com previously reported, Osorio and Joyce filed a sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaint with the EEOC in April 2005. Though several news reports mistakenly referred to the EEOC complaint as a lawsuit, filing an EEOC complaint is in fact a procedural prerequisite to a federal sexual harassment lawsuit.
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964/Title 7 -- the federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination -- parties are required to first file a complaint with the EEOC and give the federal agency at least six months to investigate the matter. At the end of the six months, the complainant may request the "right to sue" in federal court, whether or not the EEOC has made a determination in their favor or otherwise.
That's exactly what was done says Ken Thompson, attorney for Osorio and Joyce.
"What's critical to understand is that we requested the right-to-sue letter from the EEOC," Thompson told SOHH.com exclusively. "We requested the EEOC terminate and allow us to go straight to federal court. My goal was to get us into federal court as soon as possible. I didn't wait for the EEOC to release their findings. I asked them for the letter and they gave it to me."
SOHH.com has also learned from anonymous sources close the magazine that the EEOC investigation was less than thorough due to alleged stonewalling by Benzino and Mays. On one occasion, SOHH.com is told the EEOC investigator was made to wait in the magazine's lobby for over an hour until she finally cornered Benzino as he was entering the offices.
Osorio, who served as editor-in-chief for five years, discussed the work conditions at The Source to SOHH.com in April. Osorio and Joyce described The Source offices as every female employee's worst nightmare, alleging that not only were women discriminated against in hiring and promotion, they were constantly disrespected, verbally abused and treated as sexual objects.
"A federal trial is what we're going to have here," states attorney Thompson. "Everyone will be subjected to direct examining and cross-examination and the truth will prevail."