Former NASA Contractor Settles Same-sex Harassment Lawsuit

May 10, 2005 ( Application & Technologies, a former contractor for NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, has settled a same-sex harassment lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The lawsuit alleged that a male supervisor at Systems Application & Technologies (SA-Tech), which provided security services for Dryden for six years, groped and harassed four male subordinates, according to a report in the Antelope Valley Press. The early settlement does not command that SA-Tech admit liability for the incidents, but does require the payment of restitution and that the firm submit to federal monitoring..

The restitution to be recovered by the EEOC, and then distributed to the alleged victims, totals $237,500. According to Sue J. Noh, a trial attorney for EEOC, who was quoted in the Antelope Valley Press report, the man who filed the original suit will receive the most, but each additional victim will receive a portion based on the degree of harassment.

As part of the settlement, SA-Tech will have to hire a consultant to ensure compliance with the law and train employees about sexual harassment. Additionally, the EEOC will be responsible for reviewing SA-Tech’s anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies.

Beyond the Line

The harassment that took place involved the alleged harasser grabbing between one accuser’s legs, Noh said, and later he allegedly attempted to take a picture of another accuser’s groin, the Antelope Valley Press said. Additionally, “He (the alleged harasser) seemed to be constantly obsessed with the size of the alleged victim’s penis and was constantly talking about his own,” Noh said, in the Antelope Valley Press, “in a way that was way beyond the line.”

The trial attorney cited in the report said that the sexuality or sexual preference of any of the men in the suit does not affect the harassment charges, and that in considering a harassment case it is more important to determine whether or not someone is abusing their power and using sex as a weapon towards co-workers, especially subordinates.

The suit did not name NASA nor its Dryden Flight Research Center, and the spokesman said neither was informed of the suit or settlement by the EEOC.