In the wake of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and misconduct lawsuits have taken center stage across a nation that has had to take a hard look in the mirror. In terms of lawsuits, companies can be held liable when an employee files a complaint against a co-worker or a superior who is employed by the company and the company fails to take action. According to the law, every employee deserves a workplace environment free of harassment.
Now, one Missouri trucking company, Prime Inc., is being accused of failing that standard.
The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Prime Inc. located in Springfield, Missouri. They are alleging that the company did not take the proper steps to discourage male employees from sexually harassing a female truck driver and that this created a hostile work environment.
Melinda Huerta, one of the company’s drivers, was partnered with supervisor Eric Weekley for training. Weekley had already had allegations of sexual harassment directed at him by a different female trainee. In 2016, Weekley was suspended from training duty for six months as a result of this incident. Huerta had no idea about the incident when she was paired with Weekley.
Huerta claims that Weekley made sexually provocative comments toward her. Huerta repeatedly told Weekley these comments were unwelcome and that they made her feel uncomfortable. Weekley allegedly threatened her saying that she could be fired or lose her CDL license.
New Prime Inc. Targeted in Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit
This is not the first run-in that Prime Inc. has had with the EEOC. In 2016, the company was forced to pay $3.1 Million for a policy of same-sex training that denied female applicants the right to apply for jobs with the company.
Prime discontinued the policy in 2013.
However, by placing Huerta with a trainer whom they knew had a history of sexual harassment, they violated her rights and enabled an environment in which sexual harassment and abuse were allowed to continue, according to the EEOC.
The EEOC is seeking monetary and injunctive relief for the plaintiff and hopes to hold Prime Inc. accountable for allowing yet another employee to be harassed by multiple offenders.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
If you are in a situation in which you feel as though you are being harassed by another employee, it is important to let the HR department know that the behavior is repeated and unwelcome. It is important to establish a timeline for the harassment. If those in a position to stop the harassment, reprimand the employee, or take remedial action to correct the situation fail to do so, then they are enabling a hostile work environment to continue and violating your civil rights.
HKM Employment Attorneys of Kansas City to understand your situation and can help you seek damages against the employer that allowed a hostile work environment to fester.