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Sexual Harassment Victim Forced To Quit Because Of Continuous Sexual Misconduct EEOC Lawsuit Alleges

Sexual Harassment In Office

Having represented sexual harassment victims for more than twenty years, our Inverness, Florida sexual harassment attorneys know that many employers fail to protect their employees from sexual harassment in the workplace.  In far too many cases, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers have learned, employees are compelled to resign because of their employer’s failure to take corrective action to stop the sexually abusive behavior they have endured in the workplace  In this article, our Inverness, Florida sexual harassment attorneys explain how a recent sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) demonstrates that sexual harassment victims have a remedy under federal law when they are forced to quit in order to escape a sexually hostile work environment.

Company Sued For Sexual Harassment

In a press release issued on May 13, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Modern Polymers, Inc. (Modern Polymers). On May 12, 2021, the EEOC filed the sexual harassment lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Modern Polymers, Inc., Case No. 3:21-cv-00221, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The EEOC has brought the sexual harassment lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employer of Modern Polymers, Christin Smith (Smith). Title VII protects employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile or abusive working environment violates Title VII.

Sexual Harassment Victims’ Rights

As the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia explained in Curry v. District of Columbia, 195 F.3d 654 (D.C. Cir. 1999), “Title VII does not permit employers to stand idly by once they learn that sexual harassment has occurred.” Once an employers knows or should know that an employee is being sexually harassed at work, the employer is required by Title VII to take prompt and effective remedial action to prevent the sexual harassment from continuing. When an employer fails to prevent recurrence of the harassment, and a sexual harassment victim is forced to quit in order to escape the sexually hostile work environment, the sexual harassment victim has been constructively discharged in violation of Title VII. A sexual harassment victim who is constructively discharged is considered to have been terminated and is entitled to recover lost wages just as if she had been fired by the employer.

The EEOC claims that Modern Polymers violated Title VII by requiring Smith to work in a sexually hostile work environment. The EEOC further claims that Modern Polymers violated Title VII by constructively discharging Smith because of its failure to protect her from the sexually harassing behavior in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment Victim Quits

In March 2018, Smith began working for Modern Polymers through a temporary employment agency as a Quality Technician at its facility in Cherryville, North Carolina. On June 6, 2018, Modern Polymers hired Smith full-time. Beginning in mid-June 2018, according to the EEOC, a Production Supervisor began subjecting Smith to a sustained campaign of sexually harassing behavior. The Production Supervisor’s alleged sexual harassment towards Smith included touching her thighs and buttocks, making remarks about her breasts and buttocks, asking what type of underwear she was wearing, making comments about using sex toys on her, and leaving gifts for her, including flowers, candy, underwear, and sex toys. The Production Supervisor’s harassment, the EEOC claims, occurred on a nearly daily basis.

The EEOC alleges that Modern Polymers was aware of the Production Supervisor’s sexual harassment because Smith repeatedly complained about the sexual misconduct. In fact, the EEOC asserts, when Smith complained about the sexual behavior, a Quality Control Supervisor told her that the Production Supervisor had treated others in a similar fashion. Despite Smith’s persistent complaints, according to the EEOC, the Production Supervisor’s sexual harassment continued unabated. The EEOC contends that because of Modern Polymers failure to take prompt and effective remedial action to stop the sexual harassing behavior, Smith was compelled to resign her employment on April 1, 2019 in order to extricate herself from the sexually hostile work environment.

Fighting For Sexual Harassment Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States with the obligation under federal law for interpreting and enforcing the federal employment laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In order to preserve and protect the rights of employees, the EEOC files lawsuits against employers who have required their employees to work in a sexually hostile work environment in violation of Title VII.

In a press release issued by the EEOC on May 13, 2021 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, Melinda C. Dugas, explained that “it has been decades since the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of a sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII, yet sexual harassment continues to be prevalent throughout many industries.” “Employers have an obligation,” Ms. Dugas observed, “to protect their employees from all unlawful harassment, including that based on sex.” “When they refuse to do so,” Ms. Dugas added, “it is the EEOC’s responsibility to intercede and enforce those laws.”

Inverness, FL Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers have dedicated their practice to representing sexual harassment victims. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work or have questions about your rights as a sexual harassment victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Inverness, Florida sexual harassment attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take 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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