Indiana employees may be interested to learn that on April 25, it was reported that a federal appeals court upheld a $1.5 million verdict against a company for sexual harassment and retaliation. The situation reported occurred at a Memphis warehouse. According to the lawsuit, the company, New Breed Logistics, a supervisor sexually harassed three female workers. The supervisor in question reportedly retaliated against both the female employees and a male employee who was supporting the women in their complaints.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit on behalf of the employees in 2010 after failing to negotiate a settlement. In May 2013, a federal jury awarded the employees more than $1.5 million in compensation. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately upheld the jury’s decision, stating that demanding that harassment stops is an activity that is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Ultimately, the case demonstrates that courts should greatly consider the EEOC’s interpretation of what activities Title VII protects. If an employee is involved in an activity that is protected under Title VII, the company cannot retaliate.
Employers are responsible for protecting their employees from sexual harassment. If the employee complains about harassment but is fired or otherwise punished for complaining, they may be eligible to file a lawsuit against their employer. An attorney can help the employee gather evidence that demonstrates that they experiences harassment, including emails, phone calls and notes. If the case is particularly strong, the attorney may negotiate a settlement outside of court that benefits the employee. Otherwise, the attorney may represent the employee in court.
Source: The National Law Review, “Appeals Court Affirms Jury Verdict of Over $1.5 Million in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit Against New Breed Logistics,” April 25, 2015