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Military Contractor Pays $155K to Harassed Employee

Military Contractor Pays $155K to Harassed Employee

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A private military contractor has been ordered to pay $155,000 to an employee to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint.

James Friso, an aircraft and sheet metal mechanic working in Iraq, claimed that he was harassed because a DynCorp co-worker did not think he fit gender norms of a typical male, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling last week.

From October 2006 to January 2007, Friso was subjected to daily sex-based derogatory comments, including accusations that Friso was gay and engaged in homosexual acts. However, the harassing co-worker knew that Friso is married to a woman. Friso attempted to complain to DynCorp, but was transferred in retaliation.

In addition to the settlement, DynCorp has been directed to take further actions in order to prevent harassment in the future.

"This lawsuit should remind employers that employees have a legal right to a workplace free of harassment, including harassment based on sex-based stereotypes," said Lynette Barnes, a regional attorney EEOC. "Employers must be careful about allowing comments concerning sexual orientation to be made in the workplace because if those comments are based on sexual stereotyping, they might violate the law."

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