Posts Tagged ‘sex discrimination’

Plastics Co. Sued for Hostile Work Environment

Firing an employee for filing a harassment complaint only compounds the employer’s legal mess.

Element Plastics Mfg., LLC, a plastics manufacturer based in Sugar Land, Texas, violated federal law by creating a hostile work environment which resulted in the sexual harassment of a female employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on June 20th. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee was subsequently fired in retaliation for complaining about the abuse, also in violation of federal law.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charges that an Element Plastics employee was subjected to sexual comments, unwelcome touching and other improper and sexually hostile conduct by an employee or supervisor of the company beginning in December 2016. Within several weeks of her complaining about the harassment to her direct supervisor and a manager, the female employee was fired on or about April 27, 2017 in retaliation for her complaints.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02218) against Element Plastics Mfg., LLC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks an injunction prohibiting such actions in the future, as well as back pay with pre-judgment interest, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the employee, in amounts to be determined at trial.

“Federal law mandates that employees be free of sexual harassment in the workplace and protected from adverse employment actions as a result of complaining about such behavior,” said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “Such conduct deprives employees of equal employment opportunities and therefore violates Title VII.”

Rudy Sustaita, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Houston, explained, “Sexual harassment in the workplace cannot be tolerated. Further, an employee must have proper recourse for complaining about sexual harassment without fear of losing her job.”

The EEOC’s senior trial attorney in charge of the case, Connie Gatlin, added, “Title VII protects employees from sexually abusive and hostile working environments. Allowing sexual harassment to flourish unchecked and punishing an employee for complaining about it constitutes workplace dis­crimination.”

According to the Texas Secretary of State, Element Plastics Mfg., LLC is a manufacturing company in existence since January 2015.

The EEOC’s Houston District Office is located on the sixth floor of the Leland Federal Building at 1919 Smith St. in Houston.

EEOC Recovers $60K for Man Denied Job After Checking “Female” During Background Review

A transgender job applicant got some justice after the company he applied to work for rejected him because of how he answered a background investigation inquiry.

Colorado tire company A&E Tire, Inc. will pay $60,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Monday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, A&E Tire offered a job to Egan Woodward, but did not hire him after it learned that he was transgender. The EEOC alleged that A&E Tire offered Mr. Woodward the job subject to a background check but then called Mr. Woodward when it saw that he had checked female on his background screening paperwork. According to the EEOC, A&E Tire then decided not to hire Mr. Woodward and ultimately hired someone else for the position.

The EEOC settled the lawsuit after months of discovery and a court order denying A&E Tire’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In denying the motion to dismiss, the district court held that the lawsuit could proceed because the EEOC plausibly alleged that A&E Tire had not hired Mr. Woodward because he did not conform to sex stereotypes. In doing so, the district court recognized that discrimination against transgender individuals is discrimination based on sex stereotyping because transgender individuals identify as a sex different from their birth-assigned sex.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. The EEOC filed this suit in the District of Colorado (EEOC v. A&E Tire, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-02362-RBJ), seeking monetary and injunctive relief. Mr. Woodward intervened, also alleging that A&E Tire violated Title VII. The consent decree resolving this lawsuit provides that A&E Tire will pay Mr. Woodward $60,000 and send him a letter of apology. The consent decree also requires A&E Tire to make clear in its employment policies that it will not tolerate sex discrimination, including discrimination based on sex stereotyping and transgender status, and to train its managers and employees on the laws prohibiting those forms of discrimination.

“We appreciate A&E Tire’s agreement to settle this lawsuit, and we are proud to have obtained an effective resolution that compensates Egan for what he experienced and helps ensure that other transgender applicants and employees will be treated fairly,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “The settlement underscores the EEOC’s commitment to eradicating all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.”

EEOC Denver Field Office Director Amy Burkholder added, “The EEOC has been successful for many years protecting transgender applicants and employees from discrimination based on sex. I am pleased we were able to work out an agreement in this matter.”

Garbage Time: EEOC Recovers $32K for Woman Refused Interview for Waste Truck Driver Position

If a woman wants to drive a garbage truck, her gender can’t be allowed to stand in the way of her getting fair consideration for the job.

American Pride Waste Solutions, Inc., a Bluffton, S.C., waste disposal company, will pay $32,500 and furnish other relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced April 2.

The EEOC filed suit in April 2018, charging that American Pride violated federal law by failing to interview or hire Christina Rivers for a waste truck driver position because of her gender. Rivers was fully qualified to work as a driver, holding a commercial driver’s license and having experience driving large trucks. In April 2016, Rivers applied to work for American Pride, but was never interviewed despite her qualifications. American Pride has never hired a female driver and offered inconsistent and varying ex­cuses for its failure to interview Rivers, who it admitted was qualified to be interviewed.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from engaging in sex discrimination. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 9:18-cv-00912-DCN-JDA) in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary damages to Rivers, the consent decree settling the suit requires American Pride to update and disseminate anti-discrimination policies that prohibit discrimination. The decree also requires that the company provide annual equal employment opportunity training to its managers, supervisors, and employees. The two-year decree further requires the company to post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit and to provide periodic reporting to the EEOC about complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.

“The law does not allow employers to cut off job opportunities because of an employee’s sex,” said Darrell Graham, acting director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Ms. Rivers should have been interviewed and given a fair chance to have that job.”

Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “The EEOC is pleased that the company has agreed to settle this matter and implement policies and procedures that are condu­cive to a work environment free of sex discrimination. Women who are qualified and apply for jobs should be treated fairly and given the opportunity to follow their chosen careers.”

Man Up: EEOC Recovers $30K For Men Spurned for Bartender Jobs With Buffalo Wild Wings

Men can be the victims of sex discrimination, too. In this case the EEOC came to the rescue of three men who sought bartender jobs at a popular local eatery.

R Wings R Wild, LLC, doing business as Buffalo Wild Wings, will pay $30,000 to three claimants who were denied jobs in Little Rock, Ark. and Del City, Okla., because they are male, as part of the settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC), the federal agency announced January 29.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company refused to hire males into bartender positions at locations in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-624-BRW, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits, and an injunction against future discrimination.

While denying any wrongdoing, RWRW chose to resolve this matter prior to trial. The EEOC commends RWRW for working with it to resolve this lawsuit.

In addition to the monetary payment, the company will also conduct sex discrimination training for its management employees in Little Rock and Del City locations.

“Sex discrimination happens to both males and females, and Title VII protects both genders against this illegal misconduct,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “It is equally illegal to deny a male employment because of his gender.”

Buffalo Wild Wings, an Arkansas limited-liability company and owns and operates Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

No Gold for Woman at This Mine: She Was Denied Promotion Due to Gender, EEOC Says

Women in nontraditional fields must have an equal shot at advancement.

Alaska-based Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC, violated federal law when it failed to promote a qualified employee because of her sex and instead retaliated against her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed September 26.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, when Hanna Hurst began working as a Level 1 underground miner in 2007 at Pogo Mine, owned and operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC, she was the only female underground miner in her crew at the remote worksite. In 2012, when Hurst began to actively seek advancement from Level 4 to Level 5, she was denied promotion while male colleagues with less seniority or training advanced. When Hurst pointed out the discrepancy in treatment, Pogo retaliated by imposing additional training requirements on Hurst that were not required of male miners promoted to Level 5.

Sex discrimination and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (Case No. 4:18-cv-00034-JWS), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages on behalf of Hurst, and injunctive relief which typically includes training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the worksite, and compliance reporting. Hurst is also represented by the non-profit Equal Rights Advocates.

“Hannah Hurst loved her job, and she worked hard to meet its rigorous challenges,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che. “Despite being eligible for promotion for over two years, she never received the advancement that she earned. The EEOC is here to fight for the rights of people like Ms. Hurst.”

Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office, said, “There is no legitimate explanation for why Ms. Hurst was held back while male miners with less seniority or training were allowed to progress to Level 5. Employers are required to provide all employees with equal employment opportunities.”

EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney Roberta Steele added, “The EEOC will vigorously prosecute cases of gender discrimination to ensure that women in all fields, including non-traditional trades, have a level playing field and the same opportunities for advancement as their male peers.”

According to its website,, Pogo is an underground gold mine operation in Alaska with over 300 employees that is owned and operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC, a joint venture between two Tokyo-based corporations, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd (SMM) and Sumitomo Corporation.

EEOC Cites N.Y.-Based Materials Company for “Ugly Mix” of Sexism, Racism, and Xenophobia

This workplace is a noxious stew of lots of abominable behavior toward women and minorities, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Porous Materials, Inc. (PMI), an Ithaca, N.Y.-based operator and manufacturer of testing equipment for porous materials, subjected its employees to an ugly mix of sexism, racism, and xenophobia and violated federal law prohibiting harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed September 17.

The EEOC charges that a plant manager used racial slurs, called foreign-born employees “terrorists,” and told the only black employee that her husband should work in a cotton field with a rope around his neck. He then told her to drink Kool-Aid to calm down and fired her for complaining about his racist statements. He also complained that he was “sick” of immigrants stealing American jobs and not speaking English, forbade employees from speaking other languages, and urged immigrant employees to leave America.

The EEOC’s suit also charges that the plant manager was similarly abusive toward women: he loudly called women “bitches,” complained about their “PMS’ing,” and said that women could not perform a “man’s job.” He told a woman she would have to “come over here and sexually harass me” to be sent home early; made other unwanted sexual advances; said a woman was too “fat and disgusting” to have sex with her husband; and commented on female employees’ “buns” and “curves.” The company owner, rather than putting a stop to this, behaved similarly; he called female employees “dumb women,” complained that “these women can’t do anything,” and told a woman she would not be getting a raise because of her sex.

All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination-including harassment-because of sex, national origin or race, as well as retaliation.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (EEOC v. Porous Materials, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-01099) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Daniel Seltzer and Supervisory Trial Attorney Nora Curtin.

“Businesses may think that permitting sex-, race- and national origin-based harassment in the workplace is acceptable,” said Seltzer. “It isn’t, and those who do so will be held accountable.”

Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, added, “Employers cannot ignore harassment, let alone fire employees who report it. If employers fail to protect their workers, the EEOC will.”

According to Kevin Berry, the EEOC’s New York district director, “Preventing harassment and protecting immigrant workers are EEOC priorities that will continue to be pursued vigorously.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Buffalo Local Office conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

Bad Menu: Men Barred From Server Jobs at So. Calif. Burger Restaurant, EEOC Charges in Suit

The federal government has a legal beef against this restaurant that refused to hire men.

Burgers & Beer, a chain of Southern California restaurants, violated federal law when it denied males with the same employment opportunities as their female counterparts, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in lawsuit filed August 30.

The EEOC contends that since at least 2015, male applicants and employees were disqualified from server positions based on sex. The company routinely rejected male applicants for those positions and maintained a server workforce that was over 90 percent female, the EEOC charged.

Such action violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Case No. 3:18-cv-02014-DMS-NLS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prohibit Burgers & Beer from engaging in future unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the victims.

“We encourage employers to examine their hiring practices to ensure their decisions comply with federal law,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County.

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego’s Local Office, added, “Denying someone the chance to compete for a job simply because of their gender violates federal law – even if the employer presumes customers would prefer to be surrounded by female servers. Presumed preferences are no excuse for any kind of discrimination. The EEOC will continue to pursue the eradication of this type of unlawful behavior.”

According to its website,, the company has six casual dining locations, specializing in high-quality burgers, throughout California’s Imperial Valley.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, gender, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).