Press Release 04-10-2020

EEOC Sues Great Rentals and Events for Sex-Based Harassment and Retaliation

Female Employee Was Fired After Reporting Harassment by Owner, Federal Agency Charges

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Great Rentals and Events, LLC, a special events company which provides services for weddings and corporate functions, violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a hostile work environment based on her sex and then fired her when she brought the harassment to the attention of management, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the company owner repeatedly subjected the employee to comments that were demeaning to women, including sexual comments and other gender-based comments such as that women are "worthless because they have kids" and references to female staff as "little girls." After complaints to human resources, the company fired the woman in retaliation for her complaints, the EEOC charged.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating based on sex and from retaliating against workers who object to such discrimination. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. Great Rentals and Events, LLC, Case No. 5:20-cv-448) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The lawsuit asks the court to order the company to provide its former employee with appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further discriminatory practices. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that prevent sex harassment and retaliation.

"Unlawful sex-based harassment includes not only unwelcome sexual conduct, but also gender-based animosity, including sexist comments," said EEOC Trial Attorney Philip Moss. "The EEOC is committed to preventing and correcting all forms of sex harassment in the workplace."

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez added, "A company's owner does not have free license to harass female employees. No worker should be forced to endure demeaning comments about her gender in order to make a living, nor should she suffer retaliation for opposing the offensive conduct."

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.