Engie Services to Pay $125,000 to Settle EEOC Same-Sex and Race Harassment Lawsuit

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

Airport Baggage Handling and Maintenance Service Company Subjected Black Male Workers to Abuse, Federal Agency Charged

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Engie Services, Inc., a Canadian company that provides baggage handling and maintenance services at airports across the United States, has agreed to pay $125,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a sexual and race harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC charged that Engie subjected two African American male employees at the Birmingham airport to sexual harassment and also subjected one to racial harassment.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a male supervisor engaged in unwelcome sexual touching of the employees and sexually assaulted one employee on two occasions in 2015. The same supervisor and another supervisor also made racially offensive comments during the same time period.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual and racial harassment in the workplace. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Engie Services Inc., Case No. 2:20-cv-01767-ACA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama on Nov. 9, 2020, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit requires Engie to provide training to its employees on its obligations under the law and develop, implement and maintain anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies. The decree also prohibits the company from engaging in any discrimination, harassment or retaliation because of sex or race in the future. The decree also requires Engie to post notices on its bulletin boards informing employees of their right to contact the EEOC if they feel they have been discriminated or retaliated against.

“The EEOC takes a company's failure to take appropriate action to stop sexual or racial harassment seriously and will prosecute cases where this kind of abuse occurs,” said Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District. “We commend these male African American employees for speaking up about workplace harassment.”

EEOC Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson added, “We appreciate Engie’s efforts to reach an early resolution of this suit with the EEOC that provides both monetary and equitable relief. We commend the company for its willingness to train its employees and managers about workplace discrimination.”

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

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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