Virginia-based DynCorp International will pay $155,000 to settle a sex-based harassment and retaliation lawsuit, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission said Monday.
The EEOC suit alleged that a male employee harassed James Friso, an aircraft and sheet metal/structural mechanic working in Iraq, because Friso did not meet “the harasser’s gender stereotype for a man,” according to an EEOC statement.
“The harassment included daily derogatory sex-based comments, such as accusations that Friso was gay and engaged in homosexual acts, and descriptions of homosexual acts,” the statement said. “Friso is married, and the co-worker who subjected him to the comments knew that he is married and is not homosexual.”
The suit, filed in August 2011, also alleged that DynCorp retaliated against Friso for his complaints by transferring him.
DynCorp defended itself against the claims.
“The company was not involved in any wrongdoing and wholly denies all of the allegations contained in the complaint,” DynCorp said in a statement. “This case involves a personal dispute that occurred five years ago, and the alleged harasser is no longer with the company. We are pleased to put the matter behind us.”
DynCorp will pay the settlement money directly to Friso. The company must also provide its managers and human resources with anti-harassment and anti-retaliation training.
“This lawsuit should remind employers that employees have a legal right to a workplace free of harassment, including harassment based on sex-based stereotypes,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District, whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. “Employers must be careful about allowing comments concerning sexual orientation to be made in the workplace because if those comments are based on sexual stereotyping, they might violate the law.”