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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
10-1-09

EEOC Sues Wyoming Equipment Supplier For Retaliation

Casper Company Cut Work Hours and Later Fired Woman Who Complained About Sexual Harassment

DENVER – M&N Equipment, a Casper, Wyo., equipment supplier, unlawfully retaliated against a female employee after she complained that she had been sexually harassed at the company’s Pinedale, Wyo., location, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the lawsuit, Holly Miller complained both to her managers and in writing to company headquarters in Casper about being sexually harassed by a male coworker at a remote construction site. Within a few weeks, her managers began to cut her hours significantly, and took away her company vehicle. Ultimately, after she asked to meet with her manager about these actions, she was fired without explanation.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits retaliation. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v M&N Equipment, LLC, Case No. 09-cv-222-WFD, filed in U.S. District Court for Wyoming), after attempts to voluntarily resolve the matter were exhausted. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensation for emotional distress, and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief prohibiting future retaliation, as well as Miller’s reinstatement.

“It is particularly important for a woman to feel safe from retaliation when she speaks out against sexual harassment in a workplace,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix, Ariz., District Office whose jurisdiction includes the EEOC’s Denver Field Office and the state of Wyoming. “This is precisely the reason our laws prohibit retaliation for sexual harassment complaints.”

Denver Field Office Director Nancy Sienko added, “In fiscal year 2008, retaliation formed the second-highest basis of discrimination in complaints filed with the EEOC. We will continue to vigorously enforce the rights of individuals to protest discrimination without fear of losing their job.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including disability and retaliation discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.