Press Release 11-09-2020

Engie Services Inc. Sued by EEOC For Same-Sex and Race Harassment

Airport Baggage Handling and Maintenance Service Company Subjected African American Male Workers to Sex and Race Harassment, Federal Agency Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Engie Services Inc., a Canadian company that provides baggage handling and maintenance services at airports across the country, violated federal anti-discrimination laws when its supervisors harassed African American male employees at its Birmingham International Airport facility, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.  

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, supervisors subjected two African American male employees to sexual harassment and subjected one to racial harassment. A male supervisor engaged in unwelcome touching of the employees and sexually assaulted one employee on two occasions. That same supervisor made racially and sexually offensive comments, including joking about the supposed sexual preferences of African American men and referring to one of them as “boy.” Another supervisor used a racial slur to refer to African American employees and commented on the skin color of workers.          

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination based on race. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Engie Services Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-01767-ACA) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, including compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

“Engaging in frequent or severe sex or race harassment in the workplace is illegal,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson. “When harassment is perpetrated by a supervisor, employers have a duty to try to prevent it from happening in the first place and to correct it promptly.”

Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, said, “The EEOC is committed in fulfilling its mission of eradicating employment discrimination in the workplace, especially when an employer refuses to protect their employers from discrimination in their companies’”

Preventing disparate treatment on the basis of race and taking action to eradicate patterns of discrimination based on race and sex fall under the priorities of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

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.