Nashville Manufacturing Plant Allowed Sexually Hostile Work Environment for Male Employees, Federal Agency Charged

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Centurion Products, LLC, a leading manufacturer of stone veneer building materials, will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Centurion violated federal law by maintaining a sexually hostile work environment at its Nashville plant. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Centurion’s floor supervisor and other male employees routinely used explicit sexual innuendos and insults and engaged in unwelcome sexual touching of male employees.

The EEOC further charged that despite receiving multiple complaints from employees, Centurion failed to respond to those complaints in a prompt or appropriate manner. Further, the federal agency alleged that Centurion terminated an employee in retaliation for lodging a complaint about the harassment.

Although Centurion denied the allegations in the complaint, Centurion admitted it did not maintain any written policy or procedure to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace. Centurion also admitted it failed to file annual EEO-1 reports as required by federal regulations.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII’s prohibition against sexual harassment applies to all employees, including employees of the same sex as the harasser. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Centurion Products, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-02616) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes:

• mandatory implementation of a written policy prohibiting sex discrimination, including same-sex harassment, and retaliation;
• mandatory anti-harassment training for employees and supervisors;
• provision of a bilingual hotline telephone number for employees to report complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation;
• monitoring by the EEOC of any future complaints of sexual harassment for three years;
• future compliance with EEO-1 reporting regulations; and
• notice of the settlement to Centurion’s employees.

“Employees everywhere in America and in all kinds of workplaces are entitled to a safe work environment. said Regional Attorney Faye Williams of EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which serves Tennessee, Arkansas and seventeen counties in Northern Mississippi. “We trust that the measures contained in the decree will ensure a safe work environment and prevent recurrence of future misconduct of this sort.”

Centurion Stone, founded in Nashville in 1969, employs approximately 160 people at its Nashville manufacturing plant.