Phoenix-based MKB Construction will pay $38,500 to an employee who was allegedly fired for reporting sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced.
According to the EEOC, an employee at an MKB worksite in El Paso was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by a male coworker. The harasser made sexual comments about the victim and pressed against him in a sexual manner, the EEOC said. When the employee reported the harassment to a supervisor, he was reportedly fired in retaliation.
In addition to paying damages, MKB agreed to refrain from further retaliation and discrimination; issue an effective antidiscrimination policy; post a notice of intent to comply with discrimination and retaliation laws; and provide appropriate training to managers, supervisors, and human resources personnel.
“All employers need to know that they have a responsibility to take sexual harassment complaints seriously and not engage in reprisal against employees for simply bringing a problem to management’s attention,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez. “This settlement achieves the EEOC’s objectives of promoting a work environment in which employees are free to raise issues of concern about sexually offensive conduct without risking their own job security.”
Judith Taylor, supervisory trial attorney in EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office, added, “We are pleased that MKB Construction has committed to fully complying with federal law and compensating the victim. Through the negotiated settlement process, we were able to forge a solution … and further protect the rights of other workers.”
According to the EEOC, men filed 16.3 percent of the more than 11,000 sexual harassment claims the agency received in 2011. Sexual harassment claims have steadily decreased over the past decade, while claims made by men have slowly risen. Texans filed 2,925 claims of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, with the EEOC in 2011.