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PRESS RELEASE
5-16-11

Fisher Sand & Gravel to Pay $150,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Highway Constructor Harassed Female Workers and Fired Employee In Retaliation for Her Complaints, Federal Agency Charged

ALBUQUERQUE PHOENIX-- A Dickinson, N.D., company that engages in highway construction in New Mexico and other states has agreed to settle a lawsuit for sexual harassment and retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $150,000, the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. violated federal anti-discrimination laws when it subjected two women workers to egregious verbal sexual harassment by a supervisor and then fired one of them after she repeatedly asked the supervisor to stop harassing her and complained to a job superintendent.

Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation against persons who oppose unlawful employment practices violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., 09-CV-309 WFD/WPL) in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The case settled shortly before trial was set to begin with a consent decree, which in addition to the monetary settlement requires Fisher to provide its New Mexico employees with anti-discrimination training and review and revise its policies on sexual harassment. The company must also appoint an investigative officer who will be responsible for handling employee questions, concerns and complaints about sexual harassment, including the investigation of such complaints. The decree further sets out the steps to be taken in such an investigation and how it should be conducted.

“Women who work in traditionally male-dominated professions or workplaces can be particularly susceptible to sexual harassment,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “These women and all women deserve to work without being harassed because of their sex. Employers also must take special care to assure that employees who tell their harassers to stop and/or bring discrimination matters to the employer’s attention are not subjected to retaliation.”

Acting EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “Federal law protects a woman’s right to work without harassment because of her sex. Violations of the law will be met with rigorous enforcement by our agency.”

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