On September 26, 2018, the Birmingham, Alabama EEOC office filed a lawsuit against Sys-Con, LLC (“Sys-Con”) based on allegations of sexual harassment that took place at the Montgomery, Alabama Hyundai plant. The complaint alleged that two female employees were sexually harassed by their male supervisor. The female employees claim that a Sys-Con supervisor repeatedly pressured them for sex, played pornographic movies on his phone, exposed himself, and sexually assaulted one of them. The female employees also allege that the supervisor threatened them, stating that if they did not concede to his sexual demands, he would terminate them and their spouses.
Sexual harassment under Title VII is harassment that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to effect a term, condition, or privilege of employment. Sexual harassment can meet this standard when a condition of employment is associated with sex, also known as quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is also demonstrated when a supervisor uses his superior position to request sexual favors from a subordinate and, if refused, retaliates by taking action that adversely impacts the subordinate’s employment.
The lawsuit also alleged that Sys-Con did not have an anti-harassment policy or complaint procedure for employees to report harassment, nor did they provide training to supervisors or employees on sexual harassment. The statements concerning Sys-Con’s anti-harassment policies, or lack thereof, could have been included to combat the Faragher-Ellerth defense. The Faragher-Ellerth defense is successful when an employer is able to prove that they exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any sexually harassing behavior and that the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities. The Faragher-Ellerth defense is commonly used by employers when defending allegations of sexual harassment.
Our Birmingham, Alabama employment law firm has handled a number of sexual harassment cases throughout the State of Alabama. If you feel you may have suffered discrimination or harassment please contact us at (205) 588-0699 for a free consultation to discuss your potential case.