From early fall 2017 to late spring 2018, a male supervisor threatened female workers who were part of a cleaning crew at a Mississippi shipyard that they could lose their jobs unless they had sex with him. According to a federal lawsuit, he threatened to kill one worker who reported him for sexual harassment.
The supervisor worked for one of Mississippi’s largest employers, Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, who was under contract by the U.S. Navy to build a Coast Guard ship in Pascagoula. Staffing agency NSC Technologies hired the female workers. Nearly four years after Ingalls fired the supervisor, the companies agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit.
The Complaint Reveals Disturbing Details of Sexual Harassment
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported the settlement in July. The complaint states that at least three women on the cleaning crew experienced “severe, pervasive, unwanted, humiliating, degrading and offensive sexual conduct,” as the male supervisor told the women that their jobs depended upon having sex with him. He also told them they could be promoted if they did so. One worker alleged that the male supervisor propositioned her daily and made unwelcome sexual comments telling her that she worked on “his” ship and needed to “get with the program.” The complaint states that he forced the woman to have sex with him and reportedly exposed himself to several female workers and masturbated in front of them.
The supervisor fired one woman in April 2018 for refusing his advances. According to the lawsuit, the woman complained to NSC Technologies about the man’s behavior. While a recruiter acknowledged other female workers had made similar complaints, she said there was nothing they could do. She also reportedly told the woman that she shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize NSC’s contract with the shipbuilding company.
The Harasser Alleged Made Death Threats to One of the Female Employees
The woman then called Huntington Ingalls Hotline to report the abusive behavior. Days later, a coworker called the hotline with a similar complaint. According to the EEOC, when the supervisor found out, he called her and threatened to kill her. He was fired soon after, although Ingalls issued a statement saying they couldn’t substantiate the sexual harassment allegations. The EEOC says both companies violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and failed to provide a safe workplace for employees.
In addition to the $350,000 settlement, NSC Technologies and Huntington Ingalls must revise or create policies that prevent and curtail sexual harassment. Their workers and managers must also attend sexual harassment training sessions. The EEOC will monitor the companies for 2 ½ years to ensure that they comply with the settlement terms.
Reporting Protects Sexual Harassment Victims
If you’ve experienced and reported sexual harassment in the workplace without the employer taking action, one of your options is to file a complaint with a government agency such as the EEOC or the California Civil Rights Agency. The government agency will investigate your claim and may issue a right-to-sue letter if they cannot resolve the issue with the employer. Another option is to contact an attorney. Allred, Maroko & Goldberg can help you take the next step in getting your power back if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Our success is well documented across the country. Even if you live outside California or New York, AMG can help with your complaint to find the best path forward, so you can receive justice.