EEOC Sues AZ Paving Firm over Sex Harassment

September 27, 2005 ( - An Arizona firm has been slapped with a federal lawsuit over charges that a supervisor harassed male workers by grabbing their genitals, simulating sex acts, and attempting to kiss them.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which filed the suit in US District Court in Tucson against the Phoenix-based Sunland Asphalt, charged that another employee exposed himself while still another worker urinated on his co-workers, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The company is a paving contractor.

The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 1999 and continued through at least 2002, said Michelle Marshall, an EEOC lawyer who filed the lawsuit. The incidents, which involved Tucson-based employees, happened mostly in Tucson but may have also occurred at a job site in Nevada, she told the Star.

The allegations are overstated, Sunland vice president Mike McWenie told the newspaper. He said the allegations stem from just one incident that occurred in 1999. “I can’t comment on any of the details or the personalities involved. All I can tell you is that we feel like we have complied with all federal and state laws on this,” McWenie told the newspaper. “This is something that happened well over two years ago. I’m at a loss. I’m baffled it has come to this.”

The EEOC has asserted that employees who filed complaints were forced to quit because the harassment was severe and supervisors were unwilling to correct improper behavior. When one employee, also seeking a promotion, complained about the harassment, a supervisor told him “you can forget about becoming foreman,” according to the lawsuit.