Plastics Manufacturing Company Fired Materials Handler Because She Complained About Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE - Plastipak Packaging, Inc. will pay $90,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a federal retaliatory discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
The EEOC charged that Plastipak fired a female employee, who had been placed by a temporary agency, because she complained that one of its employees had sexually harassed her. Rather than investigating her complaint, the EEOC said, Plastipak terminated her assignment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complain about discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Plastipak Packaging Inc., Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-03278) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $90,000 in monetary relief to the retaliation victim, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit enjoins Plastipak from engaging in retaliation at its Havre de Grace, Md., facility in the future. Plastipak will implement a detailed policy prohibiting sexual harassment and retaliation. Plastipak will train all managers, supervisors and employees on preventing sexual harassment and retaliation. The training will also emphasize mutual respect in the workplace and train employees to respond appropriately when they are bystanders to unacceptable behavior. The consent decree requires Plastipak to report to the EEOC on how it handles any internal complaints of unlawful sexual harassment or retaliation and to post a notice regarding the settlement.
"All employees, including temporary workers, have the right to earn a living without being subjected to sexual advances and to exercise their right to oppose unlawful harassment without being fired," said EEOC Philadelphia Director Jamie R. Williamson.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "We are pleased that Plastipak worked with us to reach an amicable settlement. This settlement, including the comprehensive injunctive provisions, policy changes and training requirements, should create a more respectful workplace and ensure that all employees are protected from unlawful harassment or retaliation."
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the agency's Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.