Two sexual harassment lawsuits involving plastic companies have been settled out of court.
Injection molder EPI Advanced LLC, based in St. Louis, and its parent company, Engineered Products Industries LLC, agreed to pay a $190,000 fine, develop and implement a sexual harassment policy and institute sexual harassment training for all employees as part of a settlement announced June 21 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In addition, Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing Inc. has agreed to pay $79,500 to four female workers in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC last August. Temporary staffing agency Adecco Inc. which supplied workers to the company's plant in Butler, Pa., where the alleged harassment took place agreed to pay a $12,000 fine and conduct sexual harassment training at the agency for its managers, supervisors, employees and temporary employees.
PPM is a contract manufacturer of soft cushioning products for the medical, safety and foot-care markets. EPI makes molded products for the appliance, electrical/electronic, lawn and garden, and outdoor product equipment markets.
According to the EEOC complaint filed against EPI, a male supervisor and a male co-worker sexually harassed a female press operator and seven other women at the company's plant in Sherman, Miss.
The women claim they were forced to endure sexually explicit comments and propositions, and that some of them were grabbed and touched. Several of the women resigned because of the harassment, including one woman who quit her job after her supervisor allegedly threatened to sexually assault her in the employee parking lot.
EEOC said EPI failed to properly investigate the complaints and stop the misconduct despite a number of complaints to management by the alleged victims of the harassment. The EEOC lawsuit was filed against EPI in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss.
As part of the settlement, EPI is required to develop and distribute its policy on sexual harassment and the procedures on how to file a complaint to all employees, and provide mandatory sexual harassment training for all employees by the end of the year. It also must report any discrimination complaints to the EEOC for the next three years.
In the case involving Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing, the EEOC lawsuit charged that a company supervisor frequently made lewd, offensive remarks to the workers, rubbed himself against them, hugged them and slapped them on the buttocks.
The EEOC complaint charged that when the temporary workers complained to Adecco officials, the agency ignored the complaints, continued to assign female employees to work at the company and fired one of the workers involved.
The agreement involving Adecco was announced by the EEOC in early June three months after the settlement of the charges against PPM were resolved.
The EEOC settlement enjoins Adecco from creating or tolerating a sexually hostile work environment for temporary employees at the place of business of any clients served by the company's Butler facility. It also prohibits Adecco from making any unlawful retaliation against workers it places in jobs.
The complaints against PPM and Adecco were filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.
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