The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today it had sued Ranger Tool and Die, based in Paragould, over sexual harassment allegations.
The news release:
Ranger Tool and Die, Inc. (Ranger), an industrial machine shop with
locations in Paragould and Jonesboro, Arkansas, violated federal law when it failed to prevent sexual harassment at its Jonesboro location and then retaliated against employees who complained, according to a lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, one female employee first complained of sexual harassment to owner John Wallace, and a second female employee complained to the Jonesboro site manager about one month after the first complaint. Ranger fired both women the day of the second complaint. The next day, when a male coworker objected to the women’s termination simply for complaining of sexual harassment,
Ranger fired him as well.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from sexual harassment and retaliation. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Northern Division, Civil Action No. 3:22-cv-00247-DPM, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory, and punitive damages, and compensation for lost benefits, and an injunction against future discrimination.
“An employer cannot punish an employee for complaining about treatment that the employee reasonably believes constitutes discrimination,” said Edmond Sims, acting district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “Terminating an employee for a complaint creates a chilling effect in the workplace and discourages others from complaining.”
Ranger was founded in 1999 with its main headquarters in Paragould, Arkansas and a second location in Jonesboro, Arkansas. According to its website, Ranger services businesses located in northeas Arkansas, western Tennessee, and southern Missouri.