Press Release 07-21-2020

EEOC Sues Shelley’s Septic Tank, Inc. for Same Sex Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Septic Company’s Owner Harassed Driver and Fired Him when He Complained, Federal Agency Charges

TAMPA, Fla. – Shelley’s Septic Tank, Inc, a Zellwood, Fla. company, violated federal law when a driver was sexually harassed by the company’s owner and discharged in retaliation for complaining to the sheriff’s office about the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company’s owner, David Shelley, repeatedly made sexually charged comments to a male employee and engaged in unwelcome physical contact with the employee. After repeatedly objecting to the harassment, the employee reported it to the sheriff. The EEOC said that owner found out about it and, four days after the employee’s complaint, retaliated against the employee by firing him.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who object to such discrimination.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (EEOC v. Shelley’s Septic Tank, Inc., Case No. 6:20-cv-01285) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the discrimination victim, and injunctive relief.

“Both men and women are protected from sexual harassment under Title VII,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “Sexual harassment will not be tolerated by the EEOC regardless of the sex of the victim or harasser.”

“The EEOC also will not tolerate retaliation against harassment victims,” added Evangeline Hawthorne, director of the EEOC’s Tampa Field Office. “Protecting victims’ right to oppose discrimination by reporting inappropriate conduct in the workplace is paramount to EEOC’s mission.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa, and San Juan offices and has jurisdiction over most of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The EEOC’s Miami District employs multiple bilingual investigators who speak English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, French and Portuguese.

The EEOC advances opportunities 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.