$120,000 to be Paid in Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit Again Accordion Partitions Manufacturer, Training Ordered

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Question:  Would sexual harassment training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.
Hufcor, Inc., of Janesville, Wis., the world's leading manufacturer of operable and accordion partitions, will pay $120,000 and furnish other relief under a consent decree entered in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to EEOC's suit, Katy Degenhardt, who worked as a machine operator at a Hufcor subsidiary, Total Quality Plastics (TQP), in North Prairie, Wis., was touched inappropriately on a regular basis by her shift coordinator for three years until he was fired in May 2012. Degenhardt repeatedly reported the harassment and the retaliation to which she was subjected to Hufcor and TQP officials, but the plant manager retaliated against her for her complaints by denying her breaks, assigning her difficult work, trying to reduce her wages, denying her advancement opportunities and taking other adverse actions.

In addition to the EEOC's claims on her behalf, Degenhardt, who intervened in EEOC's suit, alleged that Hufcor unlawfully terminated her employment in February 2013 in retaliation for her complaints about sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   The EEOC filed suit (EEOC and Katy Degenhardt v. Hufcor, Inc., d/b/a Total Quality Plastics, No. 2:14-cv-1186), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in September 2014 after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  

The consent decree entered by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on August 14, 2015, prohibits future discrimination and provides that Hufcor will pay $120,000 to Degenhardt and train its managers and employees regarding an employer's obligations and the rights of employees under Title VII.

According to its website, Hufcor is a privately held U.S.A. corporation and is the world's leading manufacturer of operable and accordion partitions. Its TQP subsidiary closed in November 2013.

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