Boeing to Pay $380K to Settle Sex Discrimination Cases

February 2, 2010 ( – Aerospace manufacturer The Boeing Company has agreed to pay $380,000 to settle two separate sex discrimination lawsuits filed on behalf of female employees at its Mesa, Arizona, facility.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in a news release that in one case, Antonia Castron alleged sexist remarks created a hostile environment and, when she complained about it, she was transferred to an ill-fitting job and laid off two months later.

Meanwhile, according to the EEOC, manufacturing engineer Renee Wrede twice complained of sex-based harassment, and twice Boeing’s internal investigators substantiated her complaints. Nonetheless, according to the EEOC, the company allowed her harassers to influence her layoff evaluations and reduce her scores.

As a result, Wrede also received a layoff notice in October 2002. The EEOC’s investigation showed that Boeing manipulated evaluation scores used in its October 2002 reduction in force to justify the terminations of Wrede and Castron, according to the EEOC news release.

“An employer is only setting itself up for more trouble when it punishes a worker for exercising her right to complain about unlawful activity in the workplace,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru, in the news release. “The EEOC is always especially concerned when we uncover this kind of unlawful retaliation. It chills witnesses and victims from reporting illegal discrimination at work, and therefore interferes dangerously with the Commission’s law enforcement efforts.” 

In an earlier lawsuit, the EEOC sought relief on behalf of Kelley Miles, a female mechanic at the Mesa facility, who works on the Apache helicopter that Boeing manufactures for the U.S. Army. The EEOC charged that Boeing allowed Miles’ co-workers to harass her on an ongoing basis due to her gender and allowed one or more managers to contribute to that harassment without taking appropriate steps to address the behavior.

According to the Miles suit, male co-workers took Miles’ tools and either broke them, hid them, or changed the adjustments before returning them. Other harassment was sexual in nature. Miles reported this conduct to Boeing’s Human Resources Department, but the company did nothing to address it. As a result, the harassment continued, the EEOC said.