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PRESS RELEASE
9-28-12

EEOC Sues Braun Electric in California for Sexual Harassment

Company Failed to Stop Manager's Explicit  Sexual Remarks and Advances Toward Class of Female Workers,  Federal Agency Charges

FRESNO, Calif. - The Braun Electric  Company violated federal law when it allowed the unwelcome sexual harassment  and discrimination of a class of female employees, the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed yesterday.  The Bakersfield, Calif.-based company  provides electrical services for the oil and gas industry throughout  California's San Joaquin Valley.  

According to the EEOC, a male manager at Braun's Taft and Belridge,  Calif., locations continually subjected female staff to a hostile work environment  infused with explicit sexual comments, advances and gestures since 2010.  The manager allegedly made daily grotesque  remarks about the sexual fantasies he had regarding his female subordinates,  encouraging them to kiss and touch each other's breasts and asking to commit  sexual acts with them.  He would repeatedly  make various explicit sexual remarks or propositions and make obscene displays,  the EEOC said.  

The EEOC further asserts that Braun management largely ignored reports  of harassment and discrimination and failed to adequately prevent and correct  the misconduct.  Ultimately, at least one  female employee was forced to quit as a result of the unchecked hostile work  environment.  

Such alleged conduct violates the Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. Braun  Electric Company, Case No. 1:12-cv-01592 LJO SMS) after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.  The EEOC's suit seeks  compensatory and punitive damages for the class of female workers as well as  injunctive relief intended to prevent further sexual harassment and  discrimination at the company.  

"Employers cannot stand by idly while workers are besieged by sexual  misconduct," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles  District, whose jurisdiction includes California's Central Valley.  "Where employers fail to act, the EEOC will  work to ensure the protection of workers in the face of harassment or  discrimination on the job."

Melissa Barrios, director for the EEOC's Fresno's Local Office, added,  "Workers who have the courage to report sexual harassment on the job deserve to  be taken seriously.  Managers and  supervisors, as representatives of the employer, are required not only to  prevent such harassment from surfacing, but also to stop the harassment quickly  and effectively."

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