Texas air conditioning company settles sexual harassment lawsuit just before trial
Posted February 15, 2012
A Texas-based air conditioning company has settled a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the day before the case was to be presented to a jury, the federal agency announced February 9. The settlement pays the alleged discrimination victim in this case $37,500 and provides extensive injunctive relief to prevent future unlawful conduct.
The EEOC’s suit charged that the company subjected a former installation coordinator, the only female employee at the facility where she worked, to a sexually hostile work environment. According to the EEOC, the woman’s manager subjected her to sexually vulgar comments and touches soon after she was hired, including, but not limited to, repeatedly asking the woman to show him her breasts, making crude sexual demands of her, and even exposing himself to her on multiple occasions. The EEOC said that the former employee reported the harassment to higher management, but nothing was done to stop the harassing conduct or to impose any disciplinary action on the harasser. The agency said that as a result of the company’s failure to conduct an investigation of her report and the continuation of the unwanted conduct, the woman had no choice but to quit.
In addition to monetary relief, the five-year consent decree settling the suit requires the company to:
- Revise its sexual harassment policy and procedures to provide multiple avenues for reporting harassment,
- Conduct annual training for five years on the laws against sexual harassment and the proper procedure for investigating complaints,
- Report to the EEOC any complaints of sexual harassment for the next five years and post an anti-discrimination notice, and
- Place in the personnel file of the alleged harasser a notice reflecting the sexual harassment complaint.
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