NORFOLK , Va. – A Norfolk marine contractor violated federal law by subjecting six female employees to a sexually hostile work environment and then firing five of them for complaining, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, six female employees of Stanley’s Marine & Industrial Services LLC – Darlene Snead, Eva Winston, Cameron Gladden, Angela Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, and Krystal Adams – who worked primarily as insulators aboard the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush, were subjected to sexual harassment by two male supervisors. The suit alleges that the sexual harassment occurred between November 2007 and March 2009 and included graphic sexual comments, sexual advances and sexual touching. Six of the women who complained to Stanley’s Marine management about the harassment were discharged in retaliation for their complaints, the EEOC said. The discharges occurred between March 2008 and March 2009.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ( Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Stanley’s Marine & Industrial Services, LLC , Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-00183) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay for the discrimination victims as well as compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.
“Once an employee complains about harassment in the workplace, the employer is required under federal law to act reasonably to prevent further harassment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “It is unacceptable and a violation of the law for an employer to discharge an employee who complains about sexual harassment or other types of discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC will aggressively prosecute cases where the employer ignores known harassment or retaliates against the victim for complaining.”
Stanley’s Marine provides general shipbuilding and repair services.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.