The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems, will pay $202,200 and provide significant equitable relief to settle one of EEOC’s first lawsuits alleging sex discrimination based on sexual orientation.
EEOC charged that a lesbian employee at IFCO’s Baltimore facility was repeatedly harassed by her supervisor because of her sexual orientation. Her supervisor made numerous comments to her regarding her sexual orientation and appearance, such as “I want to turn you back into a woman” and “You would look good in a dress,” according to the suit.
EEOC charged that the supervisor also made sexually suggestive gestures to her. IFCO retaliated against the female employee by firing her just days after she complained to management and called the employee hotline to report the harassment, according to the suit.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits both discrimination because of sex and retaliation. As the federal law enforcement agency charged with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, EEOC has concluded that harassment and other discrimination because of sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination. EEOC filed suit in U.S. Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (EEOC v. Pallet Companies, d/b/a IFCO, Civil Action No. Case 1:16-cv-00595-CCB).