Female Employees Subjected to Sexual Harassment, Assault and Retaliation by Supervisor, Federal Agency Charged
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Sys-Con, LLC, a Sys-Con, LLC, a Montgomery, Ala.-based general contractor, will pay two former female employees a total of $70,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, from December 2015 to May 2017, a supervisor at Sys-Con's worksite at the Hyundai 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 Sys-Con employees, if they reported his harassment. When one of the employees refused his sexual advances, the supervisor terminated her.
Sexual harassment and sexual assault are forms of sex discrimination made unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:18-cv-00837-WKW in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $70,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District W. Keith Watkins, enjoins Sys-Con from subjecting any employee to sex discrimination or retaliation in the future. Sys-Con must take specified actions designed to prevent future Title VII violations, including issuance of a written statement to its employees confirming its commitment to promoting a workplace free of discriminatory practices; revision of company policies to communicate and implement the company's commitment to creating and maintaining a harassment-free workplace; and providing annual anti-discrimination training to all supervisors, managers, and other employees, with an emphasis on harassment.
"This case demonstrates the EEOC's commitment to enforce the rights of all workers from sexual harassment," said Marsha L. Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC's Birmingham District. "No employee should have to consent to sexual activity with a supervisor or tolerate a sexually hostile work environment to remain employed. We are pleased that as part of the consent decree resolving this lawsuit, Sys-Con will implement policies and training to prevent sexual harassment and provide a safe method to report such abuse without risk of termination."
Bradley Anderson, district director of the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, added, "In order for the law protecting workers from sexual harassment to be effective, employees must be able to report harassment without fear of reprisal against them and their family members. Employers should be on notice that the EEOC will act aggressively to protect employees from this type of misconduct."
Sys-Con works on construction projects and also provides facility and building maintenance services.
The EEOC's Birmingham District Office has jurisdiction over Alabama, Mississippi (all but 17 counties in the northern part of Mississippi), and the Florida Panhandle.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.