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Gender Harassment

Pontotoc, MS: (Nov-07-07) Several female borrowers and loan applicants brought a lawsuit against William Anderson Jr., a former vice president of the First National Bank of Pontotoc, alleging that they faced sexual harassment and a violation of their civil rights. The lawsuit was brought by the US Justice Department under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The suit was filed in 2006 in the US District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, accusing Anderson Jr. of using his position as a vice president, loan officer and branch manager of the First National Bank of Pontotoc to sexually harass women; violating both the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act. Allegations included that he made offensive comments, engaging in unwanted sexual touching, and requested or demanding sexual favors from female customers in connection with the extension of credit. This behavior is said to have gone on over a period of years before his employment with the bank ended in May 2004. The lawsuit also alleged that the bank was liable for those actions.

As part of a settlement reached, the Justice Department stated that the plaintiffs will receive $350,000, resolving the suit. The consent decree, pending approval by the court, will require the defendants to pay $250,000 to 15 already identified victims, up to $50,000 for any additional victims and $50,000 to the United States as a civil penalty. [MISSISSIPPI BUSINESS JOURNAL]

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Published on Nov-9-07


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