It takes a lot of strength and courage for people who endure sexual harassment to come forward. Some workers in Florida may fear there will be repercussions for reporting the sexual harassment or that their complaints will fall on deaf ears. If repeated attempts to stop the misconduct are being ignored or fail, the legal system may be required to settle the matter.
A woman who worked as a machine operator for Total Quality Plastics -- a producer of custom injection molds -- claims that she endured regular sexual harassment for nearly four years. Total Quality Plastics was owned by Hufcor until it closed in 2013. The plaintiff alleges that several of her male shift supervisors and co-workers regularly touched her inappropriately. This abuse included touching her breasts and buttocks.
The plaintiff complained about the harassment, but the men involved allegedly did not receive any disciplinary action. However, the plaintiff claims that she faced retaliation for her complaints. She avers that she was denied promotions, not given her rest periods and assigned more challenging work. Other co-workers supported the plaintiff's allegations, but the harassment continued until she hired a lawyer. The plaintiff was eventually terminated.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted an investigation on the sexual harassment complaints and filed a suit on her behalf in a federal court. Hufcor agreed to a settlement of $120,000 to the plaintiff, but the company did not admit to any misconduct and stated the plaintiff's firing had nothing to do with the complaints. As part of the settlement, Hufcor will report sexual harassment complaints to the EEOC every six months until 2016. It will also give management two hours of training to keep the workplace free from this behavior so that it does not occur going forward. Sexual harassment is a horrible experience, and no one in Florida or anywhere else should be forced to suffer; furthermore, employers who allow such attacks to occur should be held accountable under the law.
Source: gazettextra.com, "Hufcor to pay $120,000 to settle sexual harrassment lawsuit", Kevin Murphy, Aug. 17, 2015