Posted On: August 17, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Brand Energy Solutions Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $175,000

Brand Energy Solutions, L.L.C. which operates Texas refineries will pay $175,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ('EEOC"). The EEOC said that an operations manager employed by Brand at a Corpus Christi refinery sexually harassed a female timekeeper whom he supervised. The sexual harassment included subjecting her to repeated unwelcome physical contact, sexual advances and comments; placing lurid images on her work computer; and threatening and intimidating behavior such as throwing objects at her and locking her in a trailer.

According to the suit, the woman was forced to quit her job when Brand Scaffold failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial action to address the harassment, as the law requires. Further, the EEOC charged, Brand retaliated against the woman for complaining about the abuse. After she complained to management she was removed from her work site, placed directly in the harasser's office and was shunned by the other employees. She was told by co-workers and at least one Brand manager that whistleblowers never keep their jobs. This is a form of retaliation. Once an employee complains of discrimination and employer may not take disciplinary action against the employee.

“The law requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent such sexual harassment,” said David Rivela, senior trial attorney of the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “We will continue to actively prosecute cases where employees are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. We are glad that Brand was willing to resolve this matter.”

In addition to providing $175,000 in monetary damages, the consent decree resolving this case enjoins Brand from discriminating against employees based on sex or retaliating against employees for opposing unlawful employment practices. It also provides for the implementation of an effective anti-discrimination policy and anti-discrimination training for Brand’s employees.