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MKB Construction Settles EEOC Retaliation Discrimination Suit

Company  Fired Man Who Reported Sex Harassment by Male Co-Worker, Federal Agency Charged

Phoenix-based MKB  Construction will pay $38,500 and  furnish other relief to settle a retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by  the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency  announced today.  The EEOC had charged  the company with violating federal law by firing an employee for reporting  sexual harassment. 

According to the EEOC's suit, an  employee at an MKB work site in El Paso was subjected to a sexually hostile  work environment by a male co-worker.  The  harasser made sexual comments about the man and pressed against the victim in a  sexual manner, the EEOC said.  When the  victim reported the harassment to a supervisor, he was fired in retaliation. 

Retaliating against employees who  oppose what they reasonably believe to be dis­crim­inatory conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court  for the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division (Civil Action No.  3:11-cv-00404-KC) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement  through its conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by Judge Kathleen  Cardone, enjoins MKB Construction from engaging in any further retaliation-based  conduct prohibited by the Title VII, and requires MKB Construction to pay  $38,500 to the harassment victim. In addition, the company must issue  an effective anti-discrimination policy and post a notice of intent to comply  with discrimination and retaliation laws.   MKB Construction must also provide  training to its managers,  supervisors and human resources personnel. 

"All employers need to know that  they have a responsibility to take sexual harassment complaints seriously and  not engage in reprisal against employees for simply bringing a problem to  management's attention," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez.  "This settlement achieves the EEOC's  objectives of promoting a work environment in which employees are free to raise  issues of concern about sexually offensive conduct without risking their own  job security."

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Judith  G. Taylor of the EEOC's San Antonio Field Office added, "We are pleased that  MKB Construction has committed to fully complying with federal law and  compensating the victim.  Through the negotiated settlement process, we were  able to forge a solution that addressed the issues raised and further protect  the rights of other workers."

© Copyright U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 243
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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