Company Accused of Allowing Male-to-Male Sexual Harassment

February 16, 2006 ( - A West Virginia oil and natural gas company has been accused of failing to take action against a male employee who sexually harassed another male employee.

The Associated Press reports that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit accuses Charleston-based Cherokee Drilling Co., an affiliate of Cherokee Energy Co., of maintaining a sexually hostile work environment and allowing male-to-male sexual harassment in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The lawsuit says, “On at least one occasion at the work site, the harasser appeared outside of [the employee’s] vehicle with no clothes on the lower half of his body,” according to the AP. “This male employee subjected [the accuser] to a sexually hostile environment in the form of unwelcome sexual comments and inappropriate touching.”

The employee first complained in March 2005 about the harassing behavior, which allegedly occurred from October 2004 until June 2005, when he resigned, the lawsuit said. “Cherokee’s inaction and unwillingness to cause the behavior to stop created an abusive work environment,” the EEOC said.

In addition, the lawsuit accuses a manager at the company of retaliation because he offered employment at another location with less pay to the complaining employee.

The EEOC is seeking a jury trial and wants the company to eliminate the discriminatory practices and compensate the employee for monetary losses and emotional pain and humiliation.