Patio Screen Supervisors Physically and Verbally Harassed Female Employee, Federal Agency Charges
DALLAS - G2 Corporation, doing business as Screen Tight, violated federal law by subjecting a female worker in the Patio Screen Door Fabrication warehouse in Corsicana, Texas to unwelcome physical and verbal sexual harassment at the hands of her production manager and another high-level corporate officer, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC, in February 2016, the female employee, who was ordinarily a worker with responsibilities in the fabrication of screen doors, was directed by the production manager to clean the restrooms in the facility. The manager then followed her into both the men's and women's restrooms while making sexual comments and attempting to force himself on her. As she refused his advances and warded off his groping, the assault was interrupted when another female employee came into the area. On other occasions, the production manager had made vulgar and threatening comments to the female subordinate about her body, and what he intended to do with her sexually. The harassment victim said that the company vice president also made graphic, intimidating sexual comments to her. As a result of the sexual harassment and the direct role of management in creating the hostile environment, the employee felt she had no alternative but to leave.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on sex. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (EEOC v. G2 Corporation d/b/a Screen Tight, Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-01524-G), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Our case asserts that the production manager abused his power and authority with his lewd comments and unwanted sexual advancement against the female employee," said EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark. "Managers, supervisors and company leaders have a responsibility to ensure that their workplaces are free of harassment and any other unlawful behavior."
EEOC Dallas District Office Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino added, "While sex harassment and aggression can occur in any workplace environment, white collar or blue collar, warehouse production facilities that are remote from corporate offices may increase the potential vulnerability of the workers. If a manager's unlawful conduct is buttressed by the behaviors of fellow managers or officers, a woman may feel forced to make an untenable choice - to either put up with the sexual misconduct at the risk of her own safety or give up her income. That is a choice no one should ever be forced to make."
G2 Corporation d/b/a Screen Tight is a privately held company headquartered in Georgetown, S.C. Screen Tight manufactures and installs patio screen doors and other outdoor screening systems. The company has facilities in South Carolina, Monterrey, Mexico, and Corsicana, Texas.
On Monday, the EEOC reconvened its Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace for a meeting at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. Established in 2015, the task force concluded its work in June 2016 with the final report of its co-chairs, EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum and Commissioner and now-Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. The report includes recommendations and resources regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training, and developing a sense of collective responsibility. Monday's meeting delved into workplace harassment in light of the #MeToo movement, and discussed how employers can and have worked to better prevent and stop harassment.
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is also one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).