EEOC Sues Element Plastics for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
Sugar Land Plastics Manufacturer Fired Employee for Complaining About Abuse, Federal Agency Charges
HOUSTON - Element Plastics Mfg., LLC, a plastics manufacturer based in Sugar Land, Texas, violated federal law by creating a hostile work environment which resulted in the sexual harassment of a female employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on June 20th. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee was subsequently fired in retaliation for complaining about the abuse, also in violation of federal law.
The EEOC's lawsuit charges that an Element Plastics employee was subjected to sexual comments, unwelcome touching and other improper and sexually hostile conduct by an employee or supervisor of the company beginning in December 2016. Within several weeks of her complaining about the harassment to her direct supervisor and a manager, the female employee was fired on or about April 27, 2017 in retaliation for her complaints.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02218) against Element Plastics Mfg., LLC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks an injunction prohibiting such actions in the future, as well as back pay with pre-judgment interest, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the employee, in amounts to be determined at trial.
"Federal law mandates that employees be free of sexual harassment in the workplace and protected from adverse employment actions as a result of complaining about such behavior," said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the EEOC's Houston District Office. "Such conduct deprives employees of equal employment opportunities and therefore violates Title VII."
Rudy Sustaita, the EEOC's regional attorney in Houston, explained, "Sexual harassment in the workplace cannot be tolerated. Further, an employee must have proper recourse for complaining about sexual harassment without fear of losing her job."
The EEOC's senior trial attorney in charge of the case, Connie Gatlin, added, "Title VII protects employees from sexually abusive and hostile working environments. Allowing sexual harassment to flourish unchecked and punishing an employee for complaining about it constitutes workplace discrimination."
According to the Texas Secretary of State, Element Plastics Mfg., LLC is a manufacturing company in existence since January 2015.
The EEOC's Houston District Office is located on the sixth floor of the Leland Federal Building at 1919 Smith St. in Houston.