Commission alleges supervisor raped worker; employer failed to take action
LAKEWOOD ” A male supervisor’s sexual harassment of a female employee escalated to rape and the Denver Federal Center contractor retaliated against the victim, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The employment discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleges the Acepex Management Corp. supervisor made sexual advances, including inappropriate sexual touching and offensive sexual language that escalated to physical assault and two rapes. The victim was also threatened with harm to her and her family if she reported the assaults.
A phone message left after-hours at the Chino, Calif,-based Acepex, which performed janitorial and maintenance work at the center, was not immediately returned.
“This is the most egregious form of sexual harassment,” Joseph Mitchell, the EEOC’s regional attorney said in a statement, later adding: “when the harasser is not disciplined for his wrongful conduct, but the victim is soon fired, those actions by the company send a clear message to employees that the harassment is condoned and complaining about it is condemned.”
It was unclear whether the supervisor faced criminal charges.
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An investigation by the Government Services Administration issued a finding against the supervisor and required he be removed from the contract. The EEOC alleges that the day after the investigation ended in September 2003, the woman was moved from the night shift to an early morning shift.
Afraid because of the threats, the EEOC said the woman was driving her son to school and couldn’t make her 7 a.m. start time. After requests to remain on the night shift were denied, the woman was disciplined and fired for tardiness.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and corrective action.
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