Waste Management Company's Physical and Verbal Harassment Forced Female Garbage Truck Driver to Quit, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - Ecology Services, Inc., a waste management services company headquartered in Columbia, Md., violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment which forced her to resign, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a female garbage truck driver, who began working for Ecology Services in Columbia in May 2016, was sexually harassed by a male helper who was frequently assigned to work with her. The EEOC charges that the helper repeatedly engaged in unwelcome sexual conduct and comments, including forcibly smacking and grabbing her buttocks; grabbing her breasts; forcing her to touch his genitals; and often making sexual comments and gestures.
The driver complained to her supervisor about the egregious harassment, but Ecology Services not only failed to stop the harassment, it continued to assign her to work with the harasser. The EEOC said that the driver was forced to resign in November 2016 due to the severe harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Ecology Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01065) 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. As part of the suit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the driver, as well as broad injunctive relief.
"Preventing sexual harassment is an enforcement priority for the EEOC," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "No one should have to endure sexual assaults or crude sexual comments in order to earn a living."
EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, "As the #Metoo movement has made all too clear, sexual harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace. The EEOC stands ready to protect workers, including women in non-traditional jobs, from pervasive sexual harassment if their employers fail to do so."
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District Office, 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.