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ARC: EMPLOYEE RETALIATION CLAIMS: WAYS COMPANIES CAN AVOID THIS ESCALATING WORKPLACE RISK

Jury gives $1.5 million to plaintiffs in EEOC sexual harassment, retaliation suit

Sexual Harassment Retaliation Lawsuit

A federal jury in Memphis, Tenn., has awarded four plaintiffs in a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case filed against a North Carolina-based logistics services provider more than $1.5 million in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit.

The EEOC said in a statement Friday that a warehouse supervisor in the Memphis-area warehouse of High Point, N.C.-based New Breed Logistics Inc. subjected three unidentified temporary workers to unwelcome sexual touching and lewd, obscene and vulgar sexual remarks.

The EEOC also charged — and the jury found — that a supervisor fired the temp workers because they complained about the harassment, and that he retaliated against a male employee by terminating him because the worker opposed the harassment and agreed to serve as witness for several claimants during the company's investigation.

The company was charged with sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A jury awarded the claimants more than $1.5 million in back pay and compensatory and punitive damages.

Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the Memphis District Office, said in a statement: “Enduring sexual harassment by a supervisor should not be a part of the job. We hope this case and this verdict serve to remind employers of their responsibility to protect temporary employees placed in their facilities to work. Employers at the job site must provide a safe place for employees, including providing a sexual harassment policy to the workers, conducting training in the workplace about the policy and timely investigating claims of harassment.”

A company spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

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