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EEOC Sues Desert Truss and Buttrum Construction for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Companies' Owner Subjected a Female Employee to Sexual Harassment, Then Fired Her for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Desert Truss, Inc., an Arizona-based construction supplies manufacturer, and Buttrum Construction, Inc., a home building company with operations based in New Braunfels, Texas, violated federal law when they subjected a female employee to flagrant sexual harassment and retaliated against her for complaining, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a female employee was repeatedly subjected to unwelcome and offensive sexual advances, including unwanted sexual touching, and repeated, unwelcome requests to engage in a romantic relationship with the companies' owner. Despite complaints to the owner and another manager, the harassment continued, and the company fired the female employee in retaliation for her complaints, the EEOC charges.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she opposed discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Desert Truss, Inc. et al, Civil Action No. 5:19-cv-01127) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The lawsuit asks the court to order the companies to provide their former employee with appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the companies from engaging in any further discriminatory practices. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that prevent sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.

"No employee should have to endure being subjected to offensive sexual comments and touching in order to earn a living," said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez.

EEOC Trial Attorney Philip Moss added, "Federal law clearly prohibits an employer from punishing workers for asserting their right to be free from workplace harassment. Stopping this type of misconduct is a priority for the EEOC."

Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The San Antonio Field Office is part of the EEOC's Dallas District Office, which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Texas and parts of New Mexico.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.