Female Secretary at Gillette Facility Suffered Repeated Harassment and Retaliation, Federal Agency Charges
GILLETTE, Wyo. – The Gillette location of the HD Supply wholesale distributor chain violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to a hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. According to company information, HD Supply is a leading nationwide wholesale supplier of building materials and has over 2,800 employees nationwide.
The EEOC’s suit asserts that a secretary suffered repeated sexual harassment and gender discrimination, including sexually explicit language, unwelcome sexual advances and inappropriate touching. The agency says HD Supply was aware of the harassment, but failed to take adequate steps to stop or prevent the harassment. The government’s suit further contends that after the employee complained about the hostile environment, HD Supply retaliated against her by increasing the harassing behavior.
“Employees should be able to enjoy a work environment free of sex-based harassment,” said the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, Anna Park. “Employers need to understand that they are responsible for ensuring that women are not subjected to a hostile or sexually harassing work environment. When employers learn of harassment, they must take steps to stop it.”
Sex-based harassment and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, No. 09-cv-00048-ABJ, in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The case was investigated by the EEOC’s Denver District Office. The agency seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction enjoining HP Supply from engaging in further discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.