U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Male Employee Subjected to Male Co-worker’s Derogatory Sexual Comments
ALEXANDRIA, VA. – DynCorp International, LLC, a United States based private military contractor and aircraft maintenance company, violated federal law by subjecting a male employee to a hostile work environment based on his sex, and by transferring him after he complained, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, 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. The lawsuit alleges the harassment included daily derogatory sex-based comments, accusations that Friso is gay and engaged in homosexual acts, and descriptions of homosexual acts. Friso, who is heterosexual, is 5’4” and of small stature. He is married, and the co-worker knew that Friso is married and is not homosexual.
The lawsuit alleges that despite this knowledge, the harasser subjected Friso to the harassment because Friso did not match the gender stereotype for a man. Although Friso complained to DynCorp’s management and human resources representatives about the co-worker’s unwelcome and offensive conduct, the harassment continued until Frisco was transferred to another work site. The complaint alleges that Friso’s transfer was in retaliation for his complaints about the harassment.
DynCorp receives more than 96 percent of its $2 billion in annual revenues from the federal government. It employed approximately 16,800 people in 2009.
Sex-based harassment is a form of sex discrimination, and violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. DynCorp International, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-874) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The agency seeks back pay for Friso, along with compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
“Employers need to remember that sex discrimination includes harassment based on sexual stereotyping. Once an employee complains of sex-based harassment in the workplace, the employer is required under federal law to act reasonably to prevent further harassment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District, whose jurisdiction includes the state of Virginia. “Furthermore, federal law forbids employers from retaliating against employees who report sexual harassment. The EEOC will aggressively prosecute cases where the employer turns a blind eye to known sexual harassment or retaliates against the victim for complaining.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.