BALTIMORE – The Bell Company / The Bell Company, LLC, allegedly violated federal law when it fired a skilled female equipment operator and materials handler for complaining about discrimination because of her sex.
In its suit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged that Elaine Cusato was fired after she complained about a hostile work environment because of her gender. The EEOC claims that on a daily basis, Cusato was subjected to unfair criticism about her work and other inappropriate treatment by her supervisor, the plumbing crew foreman. The EEOC alleges that the foreman used profanity and was aggressive toward Cusato, which was different from the way he behaved with male workers. The foreman’s behavior, which was witnessed by others, included throwing a shovel at Cusato, cursing at her in front of co-workers, subcontractors, and site inspectors, and repeatedly calling her sexually offensive names. Cusato’s complaints to human resource officials allegedly intensified the foreman’s sex-based offensive treatment towards her and culminated in her retaliatory discharge.
The Bell Company, a privately held New York company, and The Bell Company, LLC, a Delaware limited-liability company, provide construction services to the U.S Army at its Aberdeen, Md., location.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex and retaliation for complaining about it. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-01342-BEL) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief, including policies, procedures and training to prevent future workplace discrimination. The EEOC also seeks to have the company compensate Cusato for her monetary losses and emotional pain and humiliation.