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EEOC Suing Company After Women on Coast Guard Ship Sexually Harassed

Victims of sexual harassment have legal options against sexual harassment, and seeking legal counsel is the first thing a victim should do after reporting the abuse.


A military manufacturer and a contracting company are being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly ignoring claims of sexual assault by staff members on Coast Guard ships in Mississippi, a news outlet reported. The EEOC lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alabama and accuses the two companies of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace or retaliation against those who report it. 

According to court documents, both companies were notified of the lawsuit in May 2021. The Virginia-based companies are being sued for “malicious and reckless conduct,” back pay and compensation for the women’s financial losses and emotional suffering after a supervisor sexually harassed and abused the women multiple times from September 2017 until May 2018 by groping them, making vulgar comments, and masturbating in front of them. He forced one woman to have sex with him on a ship in November 2017 by threatening her job, court documents say. The legal action states the immediate supervisor was aware of the harassment, but it continued to the point of loss of job threats, and even threats against one worker’s life if he lost his job due to reporting the abuse. Individuals who feel they have no choice but to quit a job due to sexual harassment at work should consult with a sexual harassment attorney in Mississippi. 

Sexual harassment claims

Sexual harassment claims cannot be made if the sexual behavior was welcomed, or occurred with mutual consent. Sexual harassment is illegal when it is so frequent, or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as a victim being fired, transferred, or demoted. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. 

Law

Workplace harassment graphic
Workplace harassment graphic; image courtesy of mohamed_hassan via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com

The law addresses sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature through:

  • Quid Pro Quo. Authoritative figures/bosses in the workplace demand, or require sexual acts for preferential treatment, or to avoid punitive action.
  • Hostile Work Environment. A boss or employer does not remedy a work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior is present creating intimidating, hostile and abusive work environments. 

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and the federal government. If there is some reason that a victim is not protected under Title VII language, a civil rights, personal injury, or employment law attorney may be able to offer another means toward compensation when sexual harassment causes harm and damage to an employee. 

Legal recourse

Victims of sexual harassment have legal options against sexual harassment, and seeking legal counsel is the first thing a victim should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels at a place of employment, or at school, or wherever the incident took place; if there are procedural guidelines set up that must be followed.

Damages

Speak with an attorney regarding compensation.

  • Monetary damages including back pay, attorney and court fees, emotional pain, and negative effects of the harassment.
  • Equitable relief by job reinstatement, or promotion.
  • Punitive damages if actions were extremely offensive, and egregious sexual harassment misconduct. 

If you, or someone you know is a victim of sexual harassment, or related sexual assault, seek out a professional attorney for guidance toward legal actions that will remedy the situation.

Sources:

https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-mississippi-sexual-assault-shipbuilding-2bf5aa2ca8e37a97ce3be191a2585000

https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview

https://www.ada.gov/

https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview

https://www.ada.gov/

https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-1964

https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/age-discrimination-employment-act-1967