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."