EEOC Sues Moore & Morford for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Female Welder Subjected to Sexual Harassment and Unlawful Firing, Federal Agency Charges

PITTSBURGH – Moore & Morford, Inc., a steel manufacturing company in South Greensburg, Pa., violated federal law by subjecting a female welder to sexual harassment as well as retaliation when she reported the harassment and filed a charge with the the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com­mis­sion (EEOC), the federal agency charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Moore & Morford subjected a former employee, the com­pany’s only female welder at the time, to a hostile work environment because of her sex when male employees repeatedly called her by sexist epithets and made offensive hand gestures toward her. Co-workers also dirtied her bathroom and personal belongings and engaged in other sexually offensive and threatening conduct, the EEOC says.

The EEOC charges that Moore & Morford’s managers and owners knew about the sexual harassment and failed to stop it. The agency says that after the female welder complained about the harassment, her foreman repeatedly yelled at her, increased surveillance of her, denied her tools and equipment that she needed to do her job, forced her to clean up the bathroom that her co-workers had dirtied, and gave her an unfavorable reassignment. Four days after telling the owners that she had contacted the EEOC and was filing a charge of discrimination against the company, they fired her, the EEOC says.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids sexual harassment in employment and prohibits retaliation for opposing such conduct, contacting the EEOC, filing charges of discrimination, or other­wise participating in EEOC proceedings. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No. 2:20-cv-00892), after first attempting to reach a pre-suit settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.

“No worker should ever have to endure sexually degrading and humiliating work conditions in order to earn a living,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the agency’s Philadelphia District Office. “The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce the laws prohibiting sexual harassment and retaliation for opposing and reporting it.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson added, “When employers learn about sexual harassment in the workplace, they must take prompt action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment and prevent it from reoccurring, and they must not retaliate against workers who complain about sexual harassment or who communicate with the EEOC. All too often we see employers retaliate against the victim of discrimination rather than take necessary steps to stop the perpetrator.”

The EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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