I’ve got news of a recent EEOC settlement on behalf of two female employees of a general contractor working at an auto plant. The EEOC charges that a supervisor subjected the women to sexual harassment, assault, and retaliation.
Here’s more from the EEOC press release:
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, from December 2015 to May 2017, a supervisor at [Company]’s worksite at [a] manufacturing plant in Montgomery, demanded sexual favors from two non-English speaking Hispanic female employees and watched pornographic videos in front of them. The EEOC further charged that the supervisor sexually assaulted one of the employees and subsequently taunted her, asking whether she “liked it.” Thereafter, the EEOC said, the supervisor threatened to fire both his victims and their husbands, who were also [Company] employees, if they reported his harassment. When one of the employees refused his sexual advances, the supervisor terminated her.
How many things are wrong with this picture?
First, you have the obvious stuff: allegations of a supervisor terrorizing two subordinates by requesting sexual favors and displaying porn at work. That’s Sexual Harassment 101.
Second, the victims can’t speak English. So, that begs the question of whether the employer had an effective system to enable these women to complain about workplace harassment. For example, was there a Spanish version of an employee handbook? Did the company employ someone who could receive complaints of harassment in Spanish?
Third, you have the allegations of blatant retaliation, going so far as to threaten the victims’ spouses. Even if the supervisor had only threatened to fire the victims’ spouses, that too would be retaliation. In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that firing someone within the “zone of interest” of a co-worker who had complained about discrimination is considered retaliation. In that case, the company fired the fiancée of an employee who had previously complained about sex discrimination. Consequently, the fiancée had a viable retaliation claim.
The two female victims will receive $70,000 collectively.