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Sexual Harassment Costs Auto Repair Shop Half a Million

A Pittsburgh federal jury awarded over $500,000 to a female auto mechanic who experienced sexual harassment at work.  The female mechanic worked for Auto Systems Center, Inc. for nine months. During that nine months, her supervisor and management committed horrific acts creating an inexcusable hostile environment.  They called her a dumb b*itch, c*nt, and the district manager asked her where they were going to f*ck. 

Worst of all, her supervisor trapped her in a break room, verbally abused her, pulled her shirt away from her body so he could view her breasts and called her a “little whore.”  Her supervisor also warned her his brother might rape her and he wouldn’t interfere if it happened.  She quit and asserted a claim for sexual harassment based on her alleged constructive discharge.  This is a classic constructive discharge as the conditions at work are so intolerable the employee was forced to quit.  Based on these facts, it is not surprising the jury found for the female auto mechanic. 

While the facts in this case are horrific, they are not uncommon when an industry is dominated by one sex and a member outside that group joins the team.  Here, the case involved a female auto mechanic in a historically male dominated position.   For employers in these industries, this case serves as a good reminder that you must train employees and managers on sexual harassment and anti-harassment in general.  Boys can no longer be boys, as they say.  We are well over two years into the #MeToo movement and this type of behavior, while always abhorrent, will be severely punished in the current environment. 

Brody and Associates regularly provides training and counseling on maintaining a harassment free environment and on employment law issues in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.  Additionally, if this article generated any additional questions for you, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com.  We may address your question in a future blog post.