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Sexual Advances & Sexually Explicit Pictures Created Hostile Work Environment EEOC Lawsuit Charges

Sexual harassment at work. Man touching secretary's knee.

For more than twenty years, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment attorneys have fought for the rights of sexual harassment victims. Although sexual harassment has been prohibited by federal employment discrimination law for decades, sexual harassment remains a pervasive problem in the American workplace. In far too many cases, our Inverness, Florida sexual harassment lawyers have learned, employees are not only required to work in a sexually hostile environment, but they are also often terminated in retaliation for rejecting the harasser’s sexual advances. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment attorneys explain how the alleged facts in a sexual harassment lawsuit recently filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) demonstrate that employees continue to experience egregious sexual harassment at work that often culminates in their termination.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

In a press release issued on September 14, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Baumann Farms, LLP (Baumann Farms). On September 12, 2021, the EEOC filed the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. v. Baumann Farms, LLC, Case No. 3:21-cv-00579, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The EEOC has filed the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of three former female employees of Baumann Farms. The EEOC’s lawsuit refers to the three former employees as the “Claimants.” The EEOC contends that Baumann Farms violated Title VII by requiring the Claimants to work in a sexually hostile environment. The EEOC further contends that Baumann Farms violated Title VII by terminating the Claimants because they rejected the harasser’s sexual advances.

Protection From Workplace Harassment

Title VII makes sexual harassment an unlawful discriminatory employment practice. To violate Title VII, sexual harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile working environment. Once an employer knows or should know of sexual harassment in the workplace, the employer is required by Title VII to take remedial action to protect the sexual harassment victim. When an employer fails to take remedial action, or the remedial action is ineffective in stopping the harassment, the employer has created and maintained a sexually hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. In order to protect sexual harassment victims, Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for complaining about perceived sexual harassment in the workplace. Title VII’s protection from retaliation also extends to sexual harassment victims who refuse to submit to a harasser’s sexual advances.

Employees Claim Hostile Work Environment

The Claimants worked for Baumann Farms as farmworkers. During their employment, according to the EEOC, the Claimants were subjected to unwanted sexually harassing behavior from a supervisor. The supervisor’s alleged sexual behavior towards the Claimants included sexual propositions, physical touching, hugging, and sexual comments. In separate incidents and on more than one occasion, the EEOC maintains, the supervisor also sent nude photographs, including pictures of his penis, to the Claimants. The EEOC contends that the sexual harassment the Claimants’ endured was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a sexually hostile working environment in violation of Title VII.

The EEOC claims that the Claimants engaged in statutorily protected activity under Title VII by rejecting the supervisor’s sexual advances. In doing so, the EEOC maintains, the Claimants were protected from retaliation under Title VII. The EEOC contends that the supervisor retaliated against the Claimants in violation of Title VII by terminating their employment because they refused to submit to his sexual advances. The supervisor’s decision to fire the Claimants, the EEOC alleges, was “approved” by Baumann Farms.

Lawyers For Harassment Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States government responsible for administering, interpreting, and enforcing federal employment discrimination law. As part of its statutory mission of eliminating unlawful discriminatory employment practices from the American workplace, the EEOC files lawsuits in federal court on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including sexual harassment victims.

In a press release issued on September 14, 2021, regarding the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, Julianne Bowman, observed that “sexual harassment violates the law and this case shows that female farmworkers are extremely vulnerable to harassment in the workplace.” In commenting on the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, Gregory Gochanour, explained that “an employer cannot fire employees because they oppose sexual harassment.”

Citrus County, FL Harassment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida, and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment attorneys have litigated sexual harassment cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If you have been sexually harassed at work or have questions about your rights as a victim of workplace sexual harassment, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Inverness, Florida sexual harassment lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes sexual harassment 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.

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