U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Company Fired Female Worker for Complaints About Gender-Based Abuse, Discharged Male Manager Who Refused to Fire Her, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE – A construction company that provides services to the U.S. Army at its Aberdeen, Md., location will pay $230,000 and furnish other substantial relief to settle an EEOC gender-based abuse and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its suit the EEOC charged that Bell BCI, LLC and the Bell Company, LLC, both doing business as “The Bell Company,” violated federal law by subjecting Elaine Cusato to a sexually hostile and offensive work environment while she was employed as a skilled equipment operator. The EEOC said that Cusato was subjected to daily criticism by her supervisor, the plumbing crew foreman, with a vehemence, aggression and profanity that was not directed at male workers. Further, the EEOC charged that when mechanical foreman Timothy Shultz refused to fire Cusato solely because she was considered a “troublemaker” for complaining about the sex discrimination, both were fired as retaliation.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex and retaliation for complaining about it. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action Nos. 1:10-cv-01342 and 1:10-cv-02710) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief to Cusato and Shultz, the consent decree requires that the Bell Company provide significant remedial relief:
“Employers have a responsibility to maintain an environment free of gender-based harassment and retaliation, which are clearly and simply illegal,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “This settlement provides appropriate relief to the victims while implementing measures to prohibit this type of misconduct in the future.”
In fiscal year 2010, the EEOC received 29,029 sex-based charges and 30,948 retaliation charges filed under Title VII.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.