$215,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit, Training Ordered

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Question:  Would discrimination and harassment training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

ITT Corporation,  a New York-based high-technology engineering and manufacturing company,  will pay $215,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed  by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency  announced. The EEOC had charged  that a female firefighter employed at the company’s Pacific Missile Range  Facility in Kekaha, Kauai, Hawaii, was sexually harassed and that she, along  with a male co-worker, were retaliated against for complaining about the  harassment.

Male co-workers and  supervisors subjected the female firefighter to overtly sexual remarks and  drawings, according to the EEOC. Despite  her objections, they also openly watched pornographic programs and videos at  work in her presence. Although she  complained about the sexual harassment on several occasions, management failed  to recognize the problem and respond in a manner consistent with federal law. Instead, the firefighter was reassigned, disciplined  and instructed to “get along.” Meanwhile,  a male co-worker who assisted with her internal complaint was also reassigned  in retaliation for opposing the harassment, said the EEOC.

Such  alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against ITT in July 2010  in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (EEOC v. ITT Corporation, CV 10-00363-HG-LEK) after first attempting  to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

As part of the  settlement, ITT entered into a three-year consent decree providing for monetary  relief for the two victims. The company  will also create an outreach fund to actively recruit females into firefighter  positions at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The decree also requires live interactive  training for all personnel assigned to Pacific Missile Range Facility  operations on laws against discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The company will also administer internal  policies on the handling of complaints about such misconduct. ITT will also designate an equal employment  opportunity (EEO) compliance officer to assist with these efforts. The EEOC will monitor ITT’s compliance with  the decree and its handling of any sexual harassment and/or retaliation  complaints received at the Pacific Missile Range Facility during the decree’s duration.

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