Sioux City, IA– An employee for Tyson Foods in Sioux City filed a federal lawsuit alleging that one of his supervisors made derogatory comments about homosexuals thus creating a hostile work environment.
The Sioux City Journal reports that in the lawsuit, Corey Weeks, a line-operator, accused his supervisor of directing inappropriate and inflammatory comments about homosexuals towards him. According to the lawsuit, Weeks’ supervisor wrote demeaning comments on his locker, protective wear and on the bathroom stall.
When Weeks complained about the demeaning comments to another a supervisor, he was told not to proceed with his complaints, the Sioux City Journal reported. Weeks also alleges that he was asked to perform tasks he was not trained for and was denied raises.
Most people think that sexual harassment only affects women, but that isn’t the case. It happens to men as well. Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that in over 16 percent of the sexual harassment complaints they receive each year, a man is the victim. In this case, the victim was subjected to derogatory statements about this alleged sexual orientation.
In prior cases, various courts have established that same-sex sexual harassment does not have to arise out of sexual desire or attraction to be considered a violation of Title VII, which protects workers from harassment and discrimination based on their sex, race or religion. That means that some courts have extended protected status to LGBTQ plaintiffs, but it is not codified into federal law, so such cases don’t always succeed.
One recent successful case involved a Louisiana iron worker, who was subjected to derogatory comments by a coworker. The man’s coworkers called him degrading things and called his masculinity into question. The name-calling and insults continued until the man filed a suit and eventually prevailed in court.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the plaintiff was sexually harassed based on the gender stereotype of masculinity. The court also concluded that he didn’t have to prove that he was effeminate of unmanly to have legitimate case.
While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has yet to give workplace discrimination protections, court decisions are moving in that direction and there is some hope the LGBTQ employees will be offered this protection in the future.
People spend a great deal of their lives in the workplace, so when they face sexual harassment, discrimination or other workplace abuses. An employee shouldn’t be subjected to hostility day in and day out, but many do and they are impacted in many negative ways. They need their employer to stand up for them and stop the abuse. If that doesn’t happen, the target of abuse should retain a sexual harassment attorney to work on their civil claim and seek compensation for their emotional distress and financial losses.
USAttorneys can connect you with an employment law attorney near your Iowa location to guide you through the process and provide you with a winning case.