Lawsuit alleges BNSF managers failed to address sexual harassment at Neb. railyard

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:51 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WIBW) - A lawsuit has been filed against BNSF after women that work at one of its Nebraska railyards claimed they have been subjected to sexual harassment for years and managers have failed to take action, which violates federal law.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says staff has charged BNSF Railway company in a lawsuit filed on Thursday, Sept. 23, for violations of federal law by subjecting female employees at its Alliance, Neb., railyard to a “sexually hostile work environment.”

According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. BNSF Railway Co., Civil Action No. 8:21-cv-00369, female workers at the major North American freight transportation company’s facility were subjected to an almost daily barrage of harassment and comments from male coworkers and supervisors. The alleged treatment has been ongoing for years and includes sexual and derogatory comments, slurs, graffiti and sexually suggestive and nude photos of women.

The lawsuit states that when female employees complained about the harassment, supervisors allegedly brushed it off, sometimes even laughing and telling the women, “welcome to the railroad.”

The suit also alleges that BNSF, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, failed to take any action to meaningfully address the problem.

The EEOC said such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for Nebraska and alleges BNSF violated Title VII by failing to take reasonable steps to combat the sexual harassment at its Alliance railyard.

The EEOC said the suit seeks monetary relief for female employees affected by the harassment, an order that prohibits future sexual harassment and other relief.

“There is still work to be done to ensure employees in all workplaces are able to do their jobs without the humiliation, stress, and fear caused by illegal sexual harassment,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “This type of conduct is unlawful in every industry and workplace, whether it’s an office or a store or a railyard.”

“Sexual harassment has no place in the American workplace. Employers are obliged to prevent this type of conduct and must take appropriate and effective action to rid their workplaces of sexually harassing conduct,” said L. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office.

The EEOC said it is responsible for the enforcement of federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination, including sexual discrimination. The St. Louis District office is responsible for Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and part of southern Illinois.

The EEOC said it advances opportunity in the workplace through enforcement of these laws. For more information, click HERE.

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