Press Release 12-22-2020

Moore & Morford to Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Harassment and Retaliation Suit

Female Welder Subjected to Harassment and Discharged After She Complained, Contacted the EEOC, Federal Agency Charged

Pittsburgh – Moore & Morford, Inc., a steel-fabrication company in South Greensburg, Pa., will pay $80,000 to settle a sex harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Moore & Morford employees subjected a female welder to a hostile work environment because of her sex. The EEOC charged that male employees repeatedly called the female welder various offensive, sex-based epithets, told her that “women don’t belong on the floor,” and manipulated steel beams and equipment to threaten her safety. After the female welder reported the harassment to the company’s owners, her foreman treated her worse—he grabbed her by the shirt collar, denied her tools and equipment, and ordered her to clean feces in the women’s bathroom, the EEOC alleged. Then days after she told the owners she contacted EEOC and had begun the process of filing a discrimination charge, Moore & Morford retaliated against her by firing her, EEOC alleged.

The EEOC charged that such conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment and discrimination because of sex. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she opposed harassment or discrimination, or because she participated in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Moore & Morford, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:20-cv-00892-LPL) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The federal court approved the two-year consent decree resolving the litigation. In addition to paying $80,000 to the female welder, Moore & Morford is prohibited from engaging in sex discrimination or retaliation. Moore & Morford must report to the EEOC on its employment of women and on any future complaints and investigations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or retaliation. Moore & Morford must disseminate a revised anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure, train its employees on Title VII, and conduct additional training on investigating complaints of discrimination and retaliation.

“Despite important strides in historically male-dominated industries like heavy manufacturing, women continue to fight for equal treatment and against outmoded stereotypes about women’s role in the workplace,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Title VII requires that employers treat all workers fairly regardless of sex and act diligently to prevent sex harassment and promptly end it when it occurs.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson added, “Workers have the right under federal law to file charges of discrimination with the EEOC, act as witnesses in pending cases, or just inquire about their rights or the possibility of filing a charge. The EEOC relies heavily on information from the public to carry out its law-enforcement functions and the agency will continue to protect workers against retaliation for exercising their right to communicate with the EEOC about discrimination.”

The EEOC’s Pittsburgh Area Office is a component of the Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia.

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.