Marelli Pays $335,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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

Multiple Complaints of Harassment Were Ignored, Federal Agency Charged

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marelli Tennessee USA, LLC, doing business as Marelli, an inter­national exterior lighting manufacturer for the automotive industry, will pay $335,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, a male assembly line supervisor sexually harassed multiple women while employed at the Pulaski, Tenn., plant. The EEOC alleged the women reported the supervisor’s conduct to management officials, yet the company failed to take appropriate measures to protect the employees from harassment.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Magneti Marelli of Tennessee, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00074), U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Columbia Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, which was approved by Chief U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., Marelli will pay $335,000 in monetary damages to four former female employees, modify its current sexual harassment policy to specify that employees may make written or verbal complaints, and distribute the updated policy within 75 days of entry of the decree. Marelli also agreed to provide annual sexual harassment training and to conduct employee exit interviews.

“Despite the passage of Title VII more than fifty years ago, the EEOC has processed a record number of sexual harassment cases in recent years,” said Regional Attorney Faye Williams of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which serves Tennessee, Arkansas and Northern Mississippi. “In 2019 alone, 306 Tennessee residents filed charges of sexual harassment. The EEOC remains committed to ensuring all Tennesseans, regardless of sex or occupation, are able to work in a harassment-free environment.”

Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the Memphis District Office, said, “We commend Marelli on its willingness to conduct training and implement the safeguards outlined in the consent decree to ensure that its employees have accessible means of making sexual harassment complaints. These measures will help prevent sexual harassment in Marelli’s workplace.”

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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