Federal Agency Charges Warehouse Fired Female Employees and Male Witness for Complaining
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – New Breed Logistics, a North Carolina-based logistics services provider, violated federal law by subjecting female employees to a sexually hostile work environment at one of its Memphis warehouses and firing those who complained about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a discrimination lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-02696, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee at Memphis), a warehouse manager sexually harassed at least three female workers by subjecting them to unwelcome sexual touching and sexual remarks. The EEOC says the manager terminated female workers who complained about the harassment, and even fired a male employee who witnessed the harassment and spoke out against it.
The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction prohibiting this discrimination in the future, and to order New Breed to pay the employees lost pay, compensatory damages for emotional and psychological harm, and punitive damages.
“It is important for workers to be able to perform their jobs without being subjected to sexual harassment and to be able speak out about harassment without retaliation,” said Katharine Kores, director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and 17 counties in Mississippi. “When a company receives complaints about harassment, it has a responsibility to act quickly to end it and to make sure that no one is punished for complaining. Instead, those employees were deprived of their jobs for doing the right thing. The EEOC will be vigilant in protecting the rights of workers to be free from harassment and to complain of illegal activities—even when directed at others—without reprisal.”
New Breed Logistics, a logistics services provider that helps companies design and operate efficient supply chains, operates five Memphis warehouses. New Breed is a national company, headquartered in High Point, N.C.
Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.