EEOC Resolves Retaliatory Discharge Lawsuit Alleging Worker Was Fired For Contacting EEOC
On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release announcing that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Moore & Moreford, Inc. (M &M). On June 16, 2020, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Moore & Moreford, Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-00892, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Before commencing the lawsuit in federal court, the EEOC first attempted to settle the case through through voluntary conciliation efforts. Unable to settle the case through conciliation efforts, the EEOC moved forward with attempting to remedy the alleged unlawful discriminatory employment practices through litigation.
In the Consent Decree, which was endorsed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lupo Lenihan on December 21, 2020, M & M agreed to pay $80,000 to resolve the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. In this article, our Ocala, Florida lawyers for retaliatory discharge victims explain the EEOC’s allegations of unlawful discriminatory employment practices against M & M.
Legal Protection Against Retaliatory Discharge
The EEOC filed the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of M & M, Amelia Thompson (Thompson). Title VII protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination forbidden by Title VII. Under Title VII, sexually harassing behavior which has the purpose or effect of altering the victim’s conditions of employment and creating a hostile or abusive working environment constitutes an unlawful discriminatory employment practice.
Title VII also contains an anti-retaliation provision which protects employees from retaliation when they lodge an internal complaint or a complaint with the EEOC about perceived sex discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace. As the U.S. Supreme Court in Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov. of Nashville & Davidson County, 555 U.S. 217 (2009) explained, “fear of retaliation is the leading reason why people stay silent instead of voicing their concerns about bias and discrimination.” When an employee is fired because he or she complained about perceived sex discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace, the employee has been subjected to an unlawful retaliatory discharge in violation of Title VII.
The EEOC alleges that M & M violated Title VII by requiring Thompson to work in a sexually hostile work environment. The EEOC further alleges that M & M unlawfully retaliated against Thompson in violation of Title VII by firing Thompson because she complained about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Sexually Hostile Work Environment Alleged
M & M is a steel fabrication company based on South Greenburg, Pennsylvania. From January 2018 until her termination on February 11, 2019, Thompson was employed by M & M as a welder. Thompson worked in the Structural Division where she was the only female welder.
The EEOC claims that Thompson, throughout her employment, was subjected to sex-based discriminatory harassment by a foreman and a co-worker. The sex-based hostile work environment harassment Thompson endured included sexist remarks, such as telling her that “women don’t belong on the floor,” “women shouldn’t be on the line,” and “women shouldn’t be welding.” The EEOC also claims that Thompson was subjected to explicitly sexual conduct, including being propositioned to perform oral sex and being exposed to calendars containing photographs of nude women. The EEOC further alleges that Thompson was targeted for gender-based abusive conduct, such as hurling sexual epithets at her, throwing objects at her, and manipulating steel beams and equipment for the purpose of creating an unsafe work environment for her.
Unlawful Retaliatory Discharge Alleged
Thompson, according to the EEOC, repeatedly complained to management about the sex-based hostile work environment. Despite Thompson’s persistent complaints, the EEOC maintains, M & M failed to launch an investigation or take any remedial action to prevent the sex-based discriminatory harassment from continuing. The EEOC further claims that Thompson was targeted for retaliatory abuse by the foreman after she complained. The foreman’s retaliatory abuse included grabbing Thompson by her shirt collar, ordering Thompson to clean the women’s restroom, increasing his workplace surveillance of Thompson, and denying Thompson tools she required to perform her job. The foreman’s retaliatory abuse also included reassigning Thompson to work in the paint yard, despite knowing that Thompson had just returned to work following a medical leave of absence and was still recovering from pneumonia.
After the foreman reassigned her to work in the paint yard, Thompson decided to turn to the EEOC for assistance. Thompson contacted the EEOC on February 5, 2019 in order to initiate the process for filing an administrative charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging unlawful sexual harassment and retaliation. Two days after she contacted the EEOC, Thompson had a meeting with M & M’s management to discuss the sexual harassment and retaliation she had experienced. During the meeting, Thompson notified management that she had contacted the EEOC and had commenced the process of filing an EEOC charge of discrimination. Four days after the meeting was held, M & M terminated Thompson’s employment.
Attorneys For Retaliatory Discharge Victims
The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment and labor laws making sexual harassment and retaliation unlawful employment practices. In enforcing the federal employment and labor laws, the EEOC brings lawsuits on behalf of sexual harassment and retaliation victims.
In a press release issued by the EEOC on December 22, 2020 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, Debra Lawrence, stated that “despite important strides in the historically male-dominated industries like heavy manufacturing, women continue to fight for equal treatment and against outmoded stereotypes about women’s role in the workplace.” “Title VII requires that employers treat all workers equally and fairly regardless of sex,” Ms. Lawrence added, “and act diligently to prevent sex harassment and promptly end it when it occurs.” In commenting on the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, Jamie Williamson, stated that “workers have the right under federal law to file charges of discrimination with the EEOC, act as witnesses in pending cases, or just inquire about their rights or the possibility of filing a charge.” “The EEOC relies heavily on information from the public to carry out its law enforcement functions,” Mr. Williamson added, “and the agency will cooperate to protect workers against retaliation for exercising their right to communicate with the EEOC about discrimination.”
Ocala, FL Lawyers For Retaliatory Discharge
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida attorneys for retaliatory discharge victims have litigated retaliation cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If you have been fired in retaliation for exercising your employee rights or have questions about your rights under the federal employment laws as a retaliatory discharge victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida lawyers for retaliatory discharge victims. Our employee rights law firm takes retaliatory discharge cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.