Company Subjected Women to Verbal and Physical Abuse, Federal Agency Charges
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Joe Ryan Trucking (Ryan) violated federal law by subjecting its female employees in its Phenix City, Ala. to abusive language and conduct because of their sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) charged in a lawsuit filed September 23, 2011.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the owner of the company who was one of Ryan’s chief officials was incessant in sexually harassing his female employees--repeatedly using sexually degrading terms to describe females, making inappropriate sexual comments to female employees, referring to female employees’ body parts in a sexually degrading manner, and displaying sexually offensive pictures and images of women. He also repeatedly exposed himself to at least one female employee.
EEOC alleges that the owner would not stop the sexual misconduct although asked to do so on numerous occasions. One of the female employees felt compelled to resign because the owner ignored her pleas to stop and continued harassing her.
Such alleged sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action 3:11-cv-00795-MEF-TFM) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking backpay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.
“When you own a company, you have heightened responsibility towards your employees,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC Birmingham District Office. “An owner should protect his employees, not harass them.”
C. Emanuel Smith, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District said, “The EEOC will vigorously pursue companies who subject female employees to sexual harassment by co-workers, supervisors, and owners. No woman should have to endure an abusive workplace in order to earn a living.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.