Airline Subjected Employee to Hostile Work Environment and Retaliated Against Her for Reporting Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
DALLAS – Utah-based SkyWest Airlines violated federal law by subjecting a female parts clerk to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, explicit sexual conversations and conduct were a daily feature of the work environment at the overwhelmingly male Parts and Maintenance Divisions of SkyWest’s Dallas operation. Multiple employees and at least one manager made crude sexual comments, including the suggestion that the female employee make money via prostitution. Male co-workers made suggestions or requests that the female employee perform demeaning sex acts and made frequent jokes about rape and rape victims.
When the sexual harassment was reported to management, the female employee who made the report was placed on indefinite administrative leave pending sexual harassment training that never occurred. She was never returned to work by the airline or told she could come back to a safer environment. As a result, she felt compelled to resign after months of being kept out of the workplace while losing equal employment opportunities enjoyed by others.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex and retaliation for reporting a hostile work environment. The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 3:22-cv-1807, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In this case, the EEOC seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, including an order barring SkyWest from engaging in discriminatory treatment in the future.
“This employee had over a decade of experience at SkyWest and before the sexual harassment had intended to retire there,” said Alexa Lang, trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “Everyone deserves to feel safe at work and no one should be pushed out of her workplace by pervasive jokes about sexual violence.”
Dallas District Office Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino said, “Title VII is intended to protect employees from unwelcome and offensive sexual comments and conduct in the workplace. The EEOC calls on companies to engage in remedial measures that are actually prompt and effective so that a person who draws the employer’s attention to a sexually hostile environment is not ultimately penalized for seeking the protections of federal law.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.