Contractor Subjected Male Employee to Male Co-Worker's Derogatory Sexual Comments, EEOC Charged
ALEXANDRIA, Va.– DynCorp International, LLC, a Falls Church, Va.-based private military contractor and aircraft maintenance company, will pay $155,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a sex-based harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC originally filed suit against DynCorp in August 2011 alleging that from October 2006 through January 2007, James Friso, an aircraft sheet metal/structural mechanic working in Taji, Iraq, was subjected to harassment based on his sex by a male co-worker. According to the allegations in the EEOC's lawsuit (EEOC v. DynCorp International, LLC, Case No. 1:11-cv-874, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia), the harassment included daily derogatory sex-based comments, such as accusations that Friso was gay and engaged in homosexual acts, and descriptions of homosexual acts. Friso is married, and the co-worker who subjected him to the comments knew that he is married and is not homosexual. The lawsuit alleged that despite this knowledge, the harasser subjected Friso to the harassment because he did not match the harasser's gender stereotype for a man. Finally, the lawsuit alleged that Friso complained to DynCorp about the harassment and was thereafter transferred in retaliation for his complaints.
Pursuant to the consent decree resolving the litigation, DynCorp agreed to pay $155,000 in monetary relief to Friso. In addition, DynCorp must also take other actions set forth in the consent decree resolving the case, including providing anti-harassment and anti-retaliation training to its managers and human resource personnel and posting a notice about the settlement. Further, DynCorp is enjoined from engaging in further sex-based harassment or retaliation and has agreed to be monitored by the EEOC for the decree's term.
"This lawsuit should remind employers that employees have a legal right to a workplace free of harassment, including harassment based on sex-based stereotypes," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District, whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. "Employers must be careful about allowing comments concerning sexual orientation to be made in the workplace because if those comments are based on sexual stereotyping, they might violate the law."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.