Panama, IA- A large Iowa trucking company is facing a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit after a female dockworker says she was fired for filing a formal complaint.
According to the lawsuit filed last Thursday, Susan Devries alleges she was sexually harassed by one of her supervisors at Panama Transfer between April of 2011 and May of 2012. The supervisor would make sexual comments, innuendos and advances toward Devries in private and over the intercom, the Des Moines Register reported.
Devries alleges that she was fired in May of 2012 after she complained about the harassment.
Trucking Info reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission tried to reach a settlement with Panama Transfer through a pre-trial reconciliation process. The suit against the company seeks compensation on Devries behalf for lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages. In addition to financial compensation, the EEOC is seeking an order to barring sexual harassment which generally entails regular reporting of any sexual harassment complaints.
President Dean Kloewer of the family-owned company that operates 120 trucks said the allegations are false and will challenge the suit in court.
Nearly half of working people who are sexually harassed never report the behavior. Day in and day they tolerate the harassment because they need their jobs or are afraid of causing trouble. Ignoring sexual harassment can affect the victim’s mental and physical well-being. It can also impact others in the workplace.
Retaliation often goes hand in hand with sexual harassment. And a large number of men and women are reluctant to report sexual harassment because they are afraid they will be retaliated against. Victims worry they will be harassed by coworkers that no one will believe their claims and they will face other punishment simply for speaking out about the way they have been treated.
Retaliation can take many forms. Some employees, who report harassment, may find they have their hours cut, are denied raises or promotions, may face hostility from their coworkers and in the worst cases can be fired. The harassment or treatment from coworkers can be so bad that some people would rather quite their jobs than deal with trying to solve the problem.
When a person regularly faces sexual harassment, they have the reasonable expectation that their employer will take the steps necessary to protect them from a harasser. But it is common for employers to disbelieve the complainant or fail to tale any sort of meaningful action. In either case, employers who fail to take any meaningful action are vulnerable to litigation.
Proving harassment in court can be a challenge since it is word person’s word against another’s. To have a successful case, victims must retain a sexual harassment attorney to help them develop and solid and convincing case. With the assistance of a sexual harassment attorney, victims can obtain compensation for their emotional distress and loss of wages. Speaking out against sexual harassment also protects other employees from having to go through the same thing.