Federal Agency Charges Woman Was Subjected to Sexually Offensive Behavior and Remarks, Fired After Filing a Complaint
DALLAS – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the filing of a discrimination lawsuit against Childress Engineering Services, Inc., charging that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by subjecting a female employee to sexual harassment and firing her in retaliation for filing a formal complaint with the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. Childress, headquartered in Richardson, Texas, provides various types of structural engineering services, from the design of commercial, retail, industrial, institutional and residential development, to building restoration and rehabilitation.
In its suit (Civil Action No.3:09-cv-1762), filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the EEOC charges that Jennifer Green, who had been employed by the company since 2006, was subjected to an environment in which her male co-workers made sexually explicit and hostile remarks on a daily basis. Although Green complained to management and Human Resources about the behavior, the company failed to take action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment. Green was selected for layoff shortly after she filed a formal complaint with the EEOC, which the agency charges was an act of retaliation by the company.
“Unfortunately, there is a belief in some workplaces that women should have to adjust to abusive language and behavior,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Meaghan Shepard. “This type of conduct cannot be allowed to continue. Employers must take steps to ensure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities under federal anti-discrimination laws.”
The suit was brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and retaliation for complaining about discrimination. The EEOC seeks back pay and front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief to ensure no further harassment. The agency filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.
Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, said, “I’ve been doing this job for 22 years, and it still surprises me that some companies will put greater value on the freedom to harass women than on the value of a healthier workplace marked by courtesy and respect for co-workers.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.