Ex-Granite Peak Welder Denies Company Response to Harassment Lawsuit
The woman suing a Casper company for sexual harassment fired back at the company's request to dismiss her federal civil rights lawsuit, recounting some of the offenses against her and the company's failure to prevent the abuse, according to her response filed Monday.
Incidents of harassment at Granite Peak Fabrication, LLC, allegedly included:
- As she bent over to check a piece of material, an employee held a lighter to her rear until it started to burn.
- An employee slapped her on her backside, picked her up, and threw her in a trash container.
- Employees put a broom between her legs in a sexually suggestive way when she was on her knees working in a vessel.
- Employees routinely pulled her hair.
- A supervisor asked if she "was on her f-----g rag."
- Employees sent sent her "foul and nasty messages" when she wasn't at work.
Incidents of the company trying to prevent and address the abuse included virtually nothing, the woman's attorney Andrea Richard wrote in her response to Granite Peak's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
"Given that, it is understandable that Granite Peak would prefer that, just like her reports and requests for help, [the woman] and her claims would just go away," Richard wrote. "Granite Peak's Motion to Dismiss is consistent with its pattern of denying and resisting its legal obligation to prevent and stop abuse and harassment in its workplace."
The woman, a welder, filed her lawsuit in December, and Granite Peak Fabrication and its related companies responded in January that they did not discriminate against her or pay her less based on her sex, nor did it retaliate against her after a one-time reported incident of harassment.
"When Complainant brought forth her sexual harassment complaint to her supervisor, the matter was immediately addressed," according to the response, which Granite Peak's attorney Pat Crank called a "position statement" and not an affidavit.
Management immediately responded to her complaint about the harassing individual asked him to stop his interactions with the woman, and it with both of them to make sure the issue was resolved and would not happen again, Crank wrote.
The company said she did not do everything she could when she completed every phase of a complaint filed through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The company also responded that she was paid comparably to male welders, but there were problems regarding her work, Crank wrote.
He added she was terminated for refusing to take a mandatory drug test.
But she said she had questions about the testing but she was amenable to taking the test, was told to go home and would be asked to come back, and was terminated in retaliation for her harassment claims.
In her response to Granite Peak's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Richard wrote that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision undermines its motion.
Granite Peak did not adequately respond to the facts that would lead to a court dismissing the lawsuit, Richard wrote.
Granite Peak also asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit because the woman did not meet the statute of limitations required in filing a discrimination complaint based on a specific date when the harassment occurred.
However, Richard responded that the woman endured harassment almost daily. "The sexual harassment, discrimination, and hostile work environment were pervasive and occurred the throughout the entire time Plaintiff was employed by Defendants."
On Wednesday, Granite Peak asked federal court to schedule a hearing about its motion to dismiss the case. The court had not responded as of Thursday when that might be scheduled.