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Company accused of sexual discrimination in recent lawsuit

It has long been an emphasis in this country that all people deserve to be treated equally. This applies, obviously, to day-to-day rights, but also to each individual's treatment in the workforce. A person should be able to work free from harassment and be paid and promoted according to their ability, rather than their gender, age or sexual orientation. Those who feel they are not being treated fairly can seek legal recourse. A discrimination case against a major company may inspire others, including those in New York, to take similar action in order to remedy improper treatment.

The lawsuit was filed in July by nine women, eight of whom are still current employees, against a ship repair shop owned by BAE Systems. The women are requesting class action status that would include any female employed by the company since the fall of 2007 who are not in a management position. It claims that the harassment is due to lack of equal pay and a hostile work environment.

Details about specific alleged incidents are included in papers filed with the court, including several comments made by supervisors indicating that women should not be working at the ship repair center. One woman even claimed that a supervisor stated that women should be in the kitchen cooking. Additional reports claim that at the time the women were contemplating their suit, there were only a few female supervisors in the 22 shops, but that more women were promoted when the company learned of the impending litigation.

The women are asking for back pay and damages. A spokesperson for the company has reaffirmed the company's commitment to equal treatment and denies the discrimination allegations. Any person in New York who feels they have been discriminated against in the workplace has the option of seeking such compensation. Such action not only provides justice to the victim, but may potentially deter others from behaving in a similar manner.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Nine women claim discrimination in BAE lawsuit," Robert McCabe, July 31, 2013

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