Egg Producer Allowed Supervisor to Sexually Harass Female Employee, Then Retaliated Against Her When She Complained, Federal Agency Says
MARTIN, MI—Konos, Inc., a Michigan-based egg producer, was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for subjecting a female employee to sexual harassment and retaliating against her when she complained.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, repeated sexual advances by the male supervisor culminated in sexual assault. The assaults led to a criminal prosecution and conviction of the supervisor. Despite the seriousness of the supervisor’s actions and the employee’s complaints to the company, Konos failed to take appropriate actions to end the harassment. Instead, Konos retaliated against her for complaining by sending her home.
Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual because of sex and from retaliating against employees who object to discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan (EEOC v. Konos, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-00973) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief designed to remedy and prevent future sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.
“Fostering an environment that allows a supervisor to sexually assault a subordinate employee, and then retaliating against the employee for complaining, is a clear violation of federal law,” said Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC. “Konos should have immediately undertaken remedial measures to protect this employee and others,” she added.
According to its website, www.vbeggs.com, Konos, Inc. has been an egg producer for over 70 years. The company has hundreds of employees working in Western Michigan.
The EEOC’s Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.