Former Ironworker Wins a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Employer

According to Greenfield Reporter, a federal jury has awarded $451,000 in damages to a plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Boh Bros. Construction Co. According to the complaint, Kerry Woods, a 33-year-old ironworker, worked on a post-Katrina bridge repair and said that a superintended flashed him and routinely taunted him about seeming feminine.

Woods brought on the suit with the help of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Woods said in a written statement that the behavior was not right and that a company should not be able to treat people in such a way. Woods claimed he suffered extreme emotional stress and feared the loss of his job. He filed an internal harassment complaint with the company and alleged a hostile work environment.

Woods claims the company then retaliated against him by transferring him to its Chalmette facility where he was forced to earn less and had a longer commute. A short time later, he was laid off from his job.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement through the EEOC, and the agency filed a lawsuit. Boh Bros argued that the company exercised reasonable care to prevent sexual harassment at its work sites, but that Woods failed to take any advantage of the measures. It also claimed that Woods’ job loss was an appropriate business consideration.

At the end of a three-day jury trial, jurors found that Woods was harassed but not retaliated against. The jury awarded the plaintiff with $1,000 in damages for back pay and benefits, $200,00 for emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life, and $250,000 for punitive damages.