KINGMAN - A Kingman construction company has been ordered to pay $60,000 to a male victim following a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit settlement.
The consent decree by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg on Friday ordered T.R. Orr Inc. to pay the $60,000 to cover back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, interest, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees and costs for the victim.
Teilborg also ordered the construction company to provide training and other relief to educate its employees about sexual harassment and their rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The company must review and revise its policy and procedures for reporting harassment, handling complaints and unlawful conduct, investigating complaints promptly and assuring no retaliation against employees who complain.
The suit, brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged that a male T.R. Orr Inc. employee was subjected to repeated physical and verbal sexual harassment by a supervisor, Richard Stokes, at the company's construction sites throughout the state. The victim eventually quit and Stokes was fired.
"Employers have a responsibility to take appropriate action when they learn of sexual harassment in the workplace, both to remedy the harassment that already has occurred and to prevent future harassment," EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill said in a news release.
O'Neill works for the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability and retaliation. She also oversaw the case.
The suit also claimed that Stokes, who is now deceased, was a repeat offender who had prior complaints filed by another male employee and a female employee. The suit claimed that the company created a hostile work environment by failing to take appropriate action.
T.R. Orr Inc. officially denied the claims and liability to the court but waived its rights to a hearing and the entry of findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Company owner Toby Orr said this morning that the settlement agreement forbids him from talking about the case.
T.R. Orr Inc. is a general contractor, specializing in building and general engineering construction throughout northwest Arizona, according to its Web site. The business started in 1982 and has completed more than 500 industrial, commercial, medical, institutional and special projects.
According to the EEOC, around 15 percent of sexual harassment charges filed with the commission are from males.
"People should know, regardless of their gender, they should not have to put up with sexual harassment," O'Neill said.
For more information on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, phone (800) 669-4000 or go on line to www.eeoc.gov.