Company Fired Female Employee for Complaining About Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charged
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, a Delaware corporation that operates a manufacturing plant in Mt. Holly, N.C., will pay $40,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, April Holt worked at Daimler's Mt. Holly plant as a truck assembler. The EEOC alleged that around Dec. 5, 2012, a male co-worker of Holt's touched her buttocks inappropriately and Holt complained to the company. The very next day, Daimler made the decision to discharge Holt. The EEOC argued that Holt was fired because she complained about what she reasonably believed was sexual harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee who complains about discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-00554) after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through the agency's conciliation process.
In addition to providing monetary relief to Holt, the company entered into a two-year consent decree requiring it to provide annual training regarding retaliation to all supervisors, managers, and employees at its Mt. Holly plant. The company must also report any action it takes in response to any employee's complaint about discrimination or harassment. The company will also post a notice to employees concerning their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws EEOC enforces.
"Punishing employees who complain about harassment violates federal law and only makes a bad situation worse," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "We are pleased that Daimler Trucks has agreed to provide training to its supervisors and managers as part of its efforts to ensure that retaliation does not occur in its workplace."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.