The federal government has filed a lawsuit against Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours Inc., alleging that the company’s president sexually harassed male employees for more than a decade.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said today that Leo Malagon, president of Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours Inc., which also does business as Discover Hawaii Tours, routinely recruited young men to work for his companies and then exposed them to “egregious sexual harassment.” The lawsuit said Malagon also had control of affiliated company Hawaii Tours & Transportation Inc., which his wife owns, and he managed events for Big Kahuna Luau Inc. Those two companies are also listed in the EEOC lawsuit.
Diana Swahn, director of administration and partner relations for Discovering Hidden Hawaii, said company officials would not comment on the pending legal matters. Malagon could not be reached for comment.
The EEOC filed a lawsuit against Malagon’s three tour companies today in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, charging the companies for violating federal anti-discrimination laws by allowing the continued sexual harassment. The lawsuit said there were at least five individuals who allegedly had been sexually harassed by Malagon.
Allegations against Malagon spanned back to 2006. The alleged offenses listed in the lawsuit include Malagon inviting employees to sex parties; showing them pornographic videos and photos; requiring them to show him their private parts to be considered for employment; stating continued employment or promotions were contingent on participating in sexual acts with him; and performing unwanted sexual acts.
The lawsuit said when employees brought the harassment to the attention of supervisors, the company failed to take corrective action and, in one case, supervisors encouraged the employee to comply with Malagon’s requests.
EEOC said some of the employees felt that they had no other option but to quit and, in some cases, Malagon retaliated after employees complained about the harassment to their supervisors.
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent any future discrimination and harassment at the tour companies. EEOC said it first tried to reach a pre-litigation settlement.