Press Release 07-17-2020

EEOC Sues Tegra Medical for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Medical Device Manufacturer Permitted Ongoing Sexual Harassment of Female Employee and Retaliated Against Her When She Complained, Federal Agency Charges

BOSTON – Tegra Medical LLC violated federal law by subjecting a female worker to a sexually hostile work environment and then retaliating against her for opposing the behavior, resulting in her constructive discharge, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Ivan Pacheco, a manufacturing supervisor at Tegra’s Franklin, Massachusetts facility, repeatedly made lewd comments to his subordinate regarding her body and touched her inappropriately. The EEOC alleges that the employee complained about Pacheco’s abusive conduct to Tegra’s human resources department. However, the company failed to take appropriate measures to end the harassment, even though other female employees previously had complained about Pacheco’s behavior. Instead, approximately one week after the employee made her complaint, Tegra retaliated against her by denying her request for leave to care for her son under the Family and Medical Leave Act, resulting in her constructive discharge.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on sex, and also from retaliating against workers who object to discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the statute. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (EEOC v. Tegra Medical LLC, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-11344) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the charging party, as well as injunctive relief designed to remedy and prevent future sexual harassment in the workplace. The case will be litigated by EEOC trial attorney Caitlin Brown and EEOC supervisory trial attorney Kimberly Cruz.

“Employers who are aware of sexual harassment in the workplace have a clear duty to act swiftly act to end the harassment,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office. “Here, the employer failed to do so, resulting in further victimization of its employees. This is unacceptable and a violation of federal law.”

Judy Keenan, director of the New York District Office, said, “Victims of sexual harassment should be listened to when they bring the abuse to the company’s attention—not punished. The EEOC will continue to aggressively enforce federal laws against retaliation for reporting discrimination in the workplace.”

The EEOC's New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.  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.