Press Release 11-04-2020

Desert Truss and Buttrum Construction to Pay $70,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit

Companies’ Owner Subjected a Female Employee to Sexual Harassment, Then Fired Her for Opposing It, Federal Agency Charged

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Desert Truss, Inc., a construction supplies manufacturer based in Arizona, and Buttrum Construction, Inc., a home building company based in New Braunfels, Texas, have agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that a female employee was repeatedly subjected to unwelcome and offensive sexual advances by the companies’ owner. Despite complaints to the owner and another manager, the harassment continued, and the company fired the female employee in retaliation for her opposition to the harassment, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employ­ment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she opposed discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. Desert Truss, Inc. et al, Civil Action No. SA:19-CV-01127-OLG) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing $70,000 for the employee and enjoining the companies from engaging in future sexual harassment and retaliation, the consent decree mandates that the companies adopt and implement an effective policy against sexual harassment and retaliation, train their employees on the requirements of Title VII, and post notices in their workplaces of their intent to fully comply with the law.

“Employers should clearly inform their employees that sexual harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated,” said Philip Moss, trial attorney for the EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. “Likewise, employers should establish an effective complaint process and take immediate action when an employee registers a complaint about unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation.”

Eduardo Juarez, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, added, “The EEOC and the courts have made it clear that an employer must give proper attention to an employee’s sexual harassment allegations and not retaliate when an employee exercises her rights under the law. As the law recognizes, employers are in a position to prevent and correct a hostile work environment, and it is critical that they take their responsibility seriously.”

The San Antonio Field Office is part of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litiga­tion in Texas and parts of New Mexico.

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.