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Childress Engineering Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit in Mid-Trial

Federal Agency Said Richardson Company Allowed Male Co-Workers to Sexually Harass the Only Woman in the Department, Then Fired Her for Objecting

DALLAS – Richardson, Texas-based Childress Engineering Services, Inc. has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the fourth day of trial, before the case was submitted to the jury, the federal agency announced today. The settlement pays the discrimination victim in this case $55,000 and provides extensive injunctive relief to prevent future unlawful conduct.

The EEOC’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (3:09-CV-1762-K), charged that Childress Engineering subjected former computer-aided drafting (CAD) technician Jennifer Green to a sexually hostile work environment.

According to the EEOC, all six male CAD Technicians in Green’s department daily subjected her to a barrage of vulgar sexual slurs and “jokes.” The EEOC further charged that Green reported the harassment to three different management officials, but the company did nothing to stop the harassment until after she filed a charge with the EEOC in 2008 – almost 15 months after her first complaint to the company. The EEOC contended that despite Green’s EEOC charge the company failed to discipline the harassers, who admitted to the lewd conduct and even testified to it at trial. The company fired Green a month after she filed the EEOC charge.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Dallas attorneys John and Margaret Schulman intervened in the EEOC's case on Green’s behalf. Settlement by means of a consent decree was reached before the conclusion of the trial on May 12.

“I contacted the EEOC when nothing else seemed to work,” said Green. “I hope this settlement and the order signed by the judge will help me put these experiences behind me and move forward with my life. Most of all, I want other women to know they do not have to put up with this kind of abuse and that the EEOC can help put an end to it.”

In addition to monetary relief, the consent decree signed by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, on May 24, 2011, includes injunctive terms such as requiring the company to:

  • revise its sexual harassment policy and procedures to ensure that employee complaints are addressed while providing multiple avenues for reporting violations;
  • conduct annual training for five years on the laws against sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace, and the proper procedure for investigating complaints;
  • report to the EEOC any complaints of sexual harassment for five years and post an anti-discrimination policy notice; and
  • place in the personnel files of two of the currently employed alleged harassers notices reflecting sexual harassment complaints, stating that any further meritorious complaints will result in their immediate discharge.

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Devika Seth, the lead attorney on the case, said, “This was an outrageous case of sexual harassment where a lone woman was ganged up on daily by her male co-workers. The very people who should have protected her – her managers – refused to pay attention to the harassment and did nothing to stop the behavior. Instead, the company fired Ms. Green in response to her pleas that the harassment stop. We hope that this settlement sends a message to employers that a dismissive approach to reports of discrimination will not be tolerated, and that the EEOC will act to ensure compliance with the law.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws that prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its web site at