After years of battling their employer, two former employees at the Renton Fry's Electronics have won a $2.3 million settlement in a sexual harassment case against the national retailer.
The lawsuit, brought on by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charges the company with harassing America Rios and firing her supervisor, Ka Lam, for standing up for her.
According to the lawsuit, in 2007 an assistant store manager at the Renton Fry's frequently sent Rios, then 20, sexually charged text messages and invited her to drink at his house. Rios said no one took her seriously except her direct supervisor, Lam, who reported it to Fry's legal department.
Lam said even Fry's corporate headquarters brushed him off and he was suddenly fired for a "decline in his performance," despite the fact his work was consistently commended.
But he filed a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and got results. Under a consent decree filed Thursday by a judge, Fry's agreed to pay $2.3 million in damages to both Rios and Lam.
"This was my first job, and I just wanted the harassment to stop. It really meant a lot to have my supervisor speak out for me, and it was horrifying to see him lose his job over it," said Rios in a statement released by the EEOC. "I'm elated and relieved by the settlement, for Ka Lam's sake as much as for mine."
Fry's is also required to conduct sexual harassment training to employees, improve sexual harassment reporting procedures and report back to the EEOC.
No one at Fry's was available to comment on the settlement.
KING 5's Liza Javier contributed to this report.