Cuero textile company employees accused of sexual harassment; EEOC files suit

Oct. 5, 2011 at 5:05 a.m.

A Cuero textile company was sued last month charged with violating a female employee's civil rights by failing to take prompt and appropriate actions when she complained of sexual harassment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit on the woman's behalf against South Carolina-based Mount Vernon Mills in federal court.

Mount Vernon Mills makes textile, chemical and related products for the apparel, industrial, institutional, and commercial markets.

Its Cuero facility makes denim, piece dyed and flame retardant fabrics for apparel; pocketing; finishing chemicals; paint roller fabrics and automotive fabrics, according to the company's website.

The EEOC claims Mount Vernon Mills violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 when they discriminated against the woman by subjecting her to a sexually hostile work environment.

"No one should have to go through what I went through," said the former employee Amber J. Love, 20. "All I ever wanted was for it to be known that something wrong was done, and they let it happen."

Messages left for Mount Vernon Mills seeking a comment on the case were unreturned as of Wednesday evening.

Love went to work at the Cuero mill in August 2009.

Love, who was 18 at the time, claims she was assigned to work the night shift with two older men co-workers, in an area that was isolated from the rest of the plant.

While at work, Love said her male co-workers would ask her to go down to the basement to have sex and engage in other sexual acts; grab and rub intimate areas of her body; talked about their own genitalia; commented on Love's breasts and asked to see her bra, according to the lawsuit.

Additionally, the men also told Love they could have sex with her as they had with other female workers, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also contends Love reported the harassment to the foreman, managers and human resources, but all of them failed to take prompt and appropriate actions in regards to her complaints.

"From my understanding, I was not the only one," Love said. "Other people in the mill told me it was an ongoing thing, but they never did anything about it. It was something they just pushed under the table."

Love left the company after six months of employment.

She filed her complaint with the EEOC in February 2010.

Because of the defendant's actions, the lawsuit claims Love was deprived of her equal employment opportunities and her status as an employee of Mount Vernon Mills was adversely affected because she was a woman.

"We represent Ms. Love, but we are also trying to enforce Title 7, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex," said Judith Taylor, one of the EEOC attorneys. "We take these kind of allegations seriously."

The EEOC seeks to get a permanent injunction against the defendant to keep them from engaging in sexual harassment or any other employment practice which discriminates on the basis of sex.

Additionally, the EEOC is seeking past and future losses for Love to compensate for her emotional pain, suffering, humiliation, anxiety, inconvenience, metal anguish and affect on her enjoyment of life.



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