Concrete Contractor Fired Worker after He Complained about Assault, Federal Agency Says
BALTIMORE - Baltimore County-based Bay Country Professional Concrete violated federal law when it subjected a male concrete finisher to racial and sexual harassment and fired him in retaliation for his complaint about the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
The EEOC charges that Bay Country subjected a concrete finisher, who is male and African American, to racial and sexual harassment by a foreman and co-workers. Two male co-workers repeatedly made explicit sexual comments and gestures to the finisher. Later a foreman and the two co-workers also made racial slurs and threatening comments to "get the lasso" when they saw the finisher at job sites, according to the suit. Bay Country did not stop the harassment, even after the finisher complained to the owner.
The EEOC says that one of the co-workers groped the concrete finisher and another intentionally poked him with a shovel handle in the rear end. The concrete finisher called the police to file charges. Bay Country fired him that same day because he called the police to complain about the harassment, the EEOC charges.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment based on race or sex. Title VII also prohibits employers from firing an employee because he opposed or complained about harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Bay Country Professional Concrete LLC, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-02848-ELH) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"All employees, regardless of the industry or profession in which they work, have the right to earn a living without being subjected to racial or sexual harassment," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "When an employer sees or learns about racial or sexual harassment, especially something as severe as a physical assault or threats, it must take prompt action to stop it. When an employer fails to do so - or, even worse, fires an employee in retaliation for complaining about it - the EEOC will take action to protect the worker and vindicate his rights."
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC 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.