CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Modern Polymers, Inc., a North Carolina corporation that operates a single polymer molding facility in Cherryville, N.C., violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, Christin Smith began working for Modern Polymers as a Quality Technician in March 2018. During her employment, Smith was subjected to severe and pervasive sexual harassment by a production supervisor in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The harassment included vulgar sexual comments, physical touching, and the display of sex toys. Although Smith reported the unlawful conduct to various managers, the company failed to adequately address Smith’s complaints and the conduct continued. On April 1, 2019, Smith was forced to resign from her employment as a result of the sexually hostile work environment.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (EEOC v. Modern Polymers, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-00221) after the parties failed to reach a settlement agreement through the EEOC’s voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks relief for Smith in the form of monetary damages including back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief against Modern Polymers, Inc. to end any ongoing sexual harassment, and to prevent such conduct from occurring in the future.
“It has been decades since the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII, yet sexual harassment continues to be prevalent throughout many industries” said Melinda C. Dugas, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Employers have an obligation to protect their employees from all unlawful workplace harassment including that based on sex. When they refuse to do so, it is the EEOC’s responsibility to intercede and to enforce those laws.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.