North Dakota Company Subjected Male Employee to Hostile Work Environment Because of His Sex and Sexual Orientation, Federal Agency Charged
MINNEAPOLIS - Rocky Mountain Casing Crews (RMCC), a Wyoming company that formerly did business in the North Dakota oil patch, has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2016, the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, RMCC, which formerly maintained a workforce in Williston, N.D., subjected a male employee to harassment because of his sex, male, and his sexual orientation. The agency said that coworkers called the employee by offensive and homophobic slurs, and the office manager made him the target of derogatory sex-based comments, including giving him a Santa cap with a Spanish slang word for "homosexual" on it.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Rocky Mountain Casing Crews (RMCC), 1:16-cv-00428-DLH-CSM (D. N.D.), alleging that RMCC had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by this misconduct. The consent decree settling the suit provides that RMCC will pay the discrimination victim $70,000 and adopt and enforce a policy against sexual harassment in the future. RMCC management and employees will undergo training on the prohibitions against harassment in the workplace.
"Sexual harassment is illegal whether it is against women or men," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago, who managed the federal agency's pre-suit administrative investigation. "Employers must respond appropriately when they receive complaints of this kind of abuse."
Greg Gochanour, the regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District, added, "Employers have to not only be reactive in responding to complaints of harassment, but they must be proactive too. They should make sure that their workplace is inhospitable to acts of harassment, and that their employees know that such misconduct violates federal law and has no place there."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
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.