Kraft named in same-sex sexual harassment suit

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 29 2002 1:00 AM ET

The federal government sued Kraft Foods Inc. and a subsidiary on Friday, alleging that a male supervisor at a distribution center sexually harassed and retaliated against other male workers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the class-action suit against the food giant in U.S. district court in Birmingham, Ala. The suit names Kraft Foods North America Inc. and Nabisco Inc. and seeks monetary damages for the workers. Kraft spokeswoman Lynne Galia said company officials had not seen the complaint and had no immediate comment. But, she said, "Kraft has strong equal-opportunity and nondiscrimination opportunities and believes that all employees have the right to work in an environment that is free from discrimination and illegal harassment."

The suit was filed on behalf of male employees who said their civil rights were violated when they were subjected to same-sex sexual harassment and retaliation by their male supervisor at a sales and distribution facility in Birmingham. "The EEOC has long held that sexual harassment of men by men at work violates federal civil rights laws, a position that was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1998," said Charles E. Guerrier, an attorney for the EEOC in Birmingham. "No person should be required to run a gauntlet of sexual abuse in return for the privilege of being allowed to work and make a living."