Screen Readers Skip to Content

EEOC Charges Employer Harassed Worker Because of His Sexual Orientation

Author: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Published: 25th Dec 2016 - Updated: 22nd Mar 2018
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Discrimination and Abuse Publications

Summary: Federal agency charges male employee was subjected to a hostile work environment because of his sexual orientation.


Main Document

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has filed its first North Dakota case charging that an employer subjected a male employee to sexual harassment because of his sexual orientation.

In its suit, EEOC contends that Rocky Mountain Casing Company, which maintains a workforce in Williston, N.D., subjected a male employee to harassment because of his sex, male, and his sexual orientation. The agency said that coworkers called the employee by offensive and homophobic slurs; defaced company vehicles with sex-based remarks about him; and left him pornographic magazines with titles like "Chicks With Dicks." His manager made offensive jokes about gays to or around the employee; made him the butt of derogatory sex-based comments; gave him children's toys and board games; and gave him a hat with a Spanish slang word for "homosexual" on it. The employee complained, EEOC said, but no prompt corrective action was taken.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of sex. As the federal law enforcement agency charged with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, EEOC has concluded that harassment and other discrimination because of sexual orientation is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. In this case, EEOC contends that Rocky Mountain Casing Company harassed the employee because he did not conform to stereotypes regarding masculinity and because of the sex of the persons with whom he formed relationships. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Rocky Mountain Casing Co., 1:16-cv-00428-DLH-CSM) in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota after first attempting to reach pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"Employers must realize that harassing someone because of his or her perceived sexual orientation violates the law just as does other types of harassment based on sex, or harassment based on race, or harassment based on religion," said Julianne Bowman, director for EEOC's Chicago District Office, which investigated the discrimination charge. "This kind of abuse is unacceptable and illegal."

John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the Chicago District, said, "It is hard to believe in the 21st century that harassment of this level of severity exists. Unfortunately, it does, and it has to stop."

Addressing emerging and developing issues, especially coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans­gender people under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). The agency has posted materials on its website relating to coverage under Title VII for LGBT individuals. In addition, in June 2015, the Commission, in coordination with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Special Counsel, and Merit Systems Protection Board, developed a guide for federal agencies on addressing sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in federal civilian employment.

EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office is part of the Chicago District, which is responsible for handling charges of employment discrimin­ation, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment dis­crimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest Discrimination and Abuse Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to Discrimination and Abuse that includes:

Lack of Sexually Injuries Does Not Mean Rape Victim Is Making It Up thumbnail image.
A new study reveals the absence of sexually related injuries cannot be used in court to infer that rape victims are making it up.
Publish Date: 8th Oct 2023
Why Sexually Harassed People Might Not Come Forward Immediately or at All thumbnail image.
What would a reasonable person do? Exploring the gap between experienced and anticipated responses to sexual harassment.
Publish Date: 10th Jun 2023
Some LGBT Allies Don't Want Gay Neighbors thumbnail image.
Study explores stigmatizing behaviors expressed by avid supporters of sexual minorities in a survey 8.5% who said they were fully accepting of gay people did not want gay neighbors.
Publish Date: 6th Mar 2023
Moderate Intoxication Does Not Impair Sexual Assault Recall thumbnail image.
Women can recall details of sexual assault and rape with accuracy, even if they have drunk, or expected to drink, moderate amounts of alcohol.
Publish Date: 1st Feb 2023 - Updated: 3rd Feb 2023


1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.



• (APA): U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2016, December 25). EEOC Charges Employer Harassed Worker Because of His Sexual Orientation. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved May 19, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/discrimination/648.php


• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/discrimination/648.php">EEOC Charges Employer Harassed Worker Because of His Sexual Orientation</a>