Employee Fired for Complaining of Harassment Receives $35K in Settlement of EEOC Lawsuit

Repeat after me: Thou shalt not fire an employee because he or she complained of sexual harassment.

That’s what ABL Management, Inc., a Baton Rouge, La.-based food management company, did when informed by a male employee that he’d been harassed by a male supervisor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, ABL assigned employee Duane Gatson to serve as a kitchen supervisor at the Bay County Jail Facility in Panama City, Fla. While working in an isolated food storage area, Gaston was approached and groped by a male kitchen manager, the EEOC said. Thereafter, Gatson reported the offending conduct to his immediate supervisor. Following his report, he was advised that the company would conduct an investigation regarding his charges. However, within several weeks of making his report of sexual harassment, ABL fired Gaston as retaliation for complaining, the EEOC said.

Rather than fight in court, the employer agreed to settle the lawsuit for $35,000, the EEOC announced on April 10.

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