EEOC: Memphis cruise company fired employee for supporting coworker's harassment claims

By Mark Iandolo | Sep 19, 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Sept. 13 against American Queen Steamboat Company, a cruise company based in Memphis, for allegations of firing an employee after he supported a coworker’s sexual harassment complaint.

"An employee who reports the sexual harassment of a coworker is doing the workplace and the employer a big favor," said EEOC regional attorney Jeffrey Burstein. "Such whistleblowers are entitled to the fullest protection of the law, and the EEOC will fight to see they get it."

The EEOC says in December 2014, cruise director Carson Turner submitted a written complaint to American Queen supporting a coworker’s claim of being sexually harassed by a supervisor. Turner was purportedly terminated in May 2015 because of his actions. American Queen’s alleged conduct in this case violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

"This case shows, clearly, the critical importance of employers training their supervisors to respond appropriately and effectively to discrimination complaints - and certainly never to punish someone for reporting such misconduct,” said Kevin Berry, the EEOC's New York District director.

The EEOC seeks lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages for Turner.

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