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Press Release 07-01-2009


Women at EPI's Mississippi Plant Had to Quit to Escape Abuse, Federal Agency Charges

OXFORD,  Miss. – A St. Louis-based plastic injection  molding company violated federal law by subjecting a class of female employees  at its Sherman, Miss., plant to a sexually hostile work  environment and forcing several of them to quit their jobs, the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, EPI Advanced, LLC and Engineered  Products Industries, LLC, allowed Dean Miller, a male supervisor, and  other male co-workers, to harass press operator Cathy Johnson and other women  at the Sherman  plant. The EEOC says the female workers  were forced to endure myriad sexually explicit comments and propositions, and many  of the victims were grabbed and touched by Miller. Several women quit because of the harassment,  and one woman quit her job after Miller phoned her at work threaten­ing to  sexually assault her in the employees’ parking lot. Although several complaints were made by  victims to management, the company failed to properly investigate complaints  and stop the mis­conduct, the EEOC contends.

This alleged conduct violates Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment based on  sex. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action  No. 2:09-cv-00110, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of  Mississippi at Oxford)  after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue  an injunction prohibiting such discrimination in the future, and to order EPI  Advanced, LLC and Engineered Products Industries, LLC to pay Johnson (and women  as a class) wages lost as a result of the discrimination, interest on the lost  pay, compensatory damages for emotional and psychological harm, and any other  damages deemed appropriate.

“The environment at EPI was simply  intolerable,” said EEOC Memphis District Director Katharine W. Kores, whose  office has jurisdiction for most of Mississippi. “No one should have to face such unlawful conduct  in the workplace. The EEOC will continue  to combat such discrimination.”

  According  to company information, EPI Advanced, LLC, wholly owned by Engineered Products  Industries, LLC, specializes in plastic injection molding. EPI is a custom plastic injection molding  company founded in 1953 with headquarters in St. Louis and divisional  operations in Sherman, Miss., and DeQueen, Ark.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information about  the EEOC is available on its web site at