University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. Boh Bros. Construction Co. EE-LA-0113
Docket / Court Civil Action No. 09-6460 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On September 23, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed this federal lawsuit on behalf of an employee of Boh Brothers Construction Company, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The lawsuit, filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ... read more >
On September 23, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed this federal lawsuit on behalf of an employee of Boh Brothers Construction Company, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The lawsuit, filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sought a permanent injunction enjoining the employer from engaging in discriminatory employment practices and sexual harassment. The plaintiff also asked that the employer institute a sexual harassment policy and provide backpay with interest along with compensation for emotional stress.

The employee complainant claimed that his supervisor viewed him as excessively feminine, and therefore verbally and physically sexually harassed him, feigned anal sex with him, and urged him to look at the superintendent's penis. When the employee complained, his employer transferred him to a different office with a longer commute, lower pay, and then terminated his employment.

Following a jury trial, Boh Bros was found to have permitted hostile work environment sexual harassment. The jury awarded a total of $1000 in back pay, $200,000 in compensatory damages, and $250,000 in punitive damages; the district court reduced this amount to $301,000 because of statutory limits. The district court also entered injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination. The injunction required the company's chief executive officer to send a letter to all employees "advising them of the verdict against Defendant in this case on the claim of sexual harassment, stating that Defendant will not tolerate sexual harassment or retaliation, and that Defendant will take appropriate disciplinary action against any manager, supervisor, or employee who engages in sexual harassment or retaliation." The court further ordered that Boh Bros. may not re­hire the harassing supervisor during the life of the injunction.

Boh Bros. appealed, and in April 2012, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the jury verdict, finding that the evidence did not establish that Boh Bros. had harassed Woods "because of sex." The Fifth Circuit granted rehearing en banc, and in September 2013, a majority of the Court of Appeals found that the law and evidence supported the jury's finding that Boh Bros. had illegally harassed Woods because of sex, in violation of Title VII. The en banc Fifth Circuit also rejected the company's appeal of the district court's entry of a judgment of injunctive relief. Thus, the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals restored the jury's finding of illegal harassment and the injunction. However, it vacated the punitive damage award, and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings, including setting the proper amount of emotional damages in light of the appellate decision.

On remand, the company agreed to a compensatory damages award of $125,000 (and therefore a total of $126,000 in money damages), ending the case.

Sarah Fries - 03/10/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Preliminary relief granted
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Demotion
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Discipline
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Boh Bros. Construction Co.
Plaintiff Description EEOC, on behalf of a male employee of Boh Bros. Construction Co.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2011 - 2014
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
Civil Action No. 09-6460 (E.D. La.) 02/03/2014
EE-LA-0113-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 09/23/2009
EE-LA-0113-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Rendering Judgment in Favor of Plaintiff] 03/28/2011 (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0113-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Defendant's Motions for a New Trial and for Judgment as a Matter of Law] 06/24/2011 (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0113-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Injunctive Relief] 08/15/2011 (2011 WL 3585599) (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0113-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment of Injunctive Relief 08/16/2011 (2011 WL 3648483) (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0113-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
CONSENT JUDGMENT 02/03/2014 (E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0113-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
EEOC Press Release 02/27/2014
EE-LA-0113-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: EEOC.gov
Judges Lemelle, Ivan L. R. (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
EE-LA-0113-0002 | EE-LA-0113-0003 | EE-LA-0113-0004 | EE-LA-0113-0005 | EE-LA-0113-0007 | EE-LA-0113-9001
Wilkinson, Joseph C. Jr. (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
EE-LA-0113-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goldman, Tanya L. (Maryland)
EE-LA-0113-9001
Graham, Nancy Eleanor (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0113-0001 | EE-LA-0113-9001
Juge, Gregory T. (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0113-0007 | EE-LA-0113-9001
Lee, James L. (District of Columbia)
EE-LA-0113-0001 | EE-LA-0113-0007
Lopez, P. David (District of Columbia)
EE-LA-0113-0007
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia)
EE-LA-0113-0001 | EE-LA-0113-0007
Sacher, Jim (Texas)
EE-LA-0113-0001 | EE-LA-0113-0007 | EE-LA-0113-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Christy, Walter W (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0113-0007 | EE-LA-0113-9001
Credeur, Jacob C. (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0113-9001
Latuso, Erin Wedge (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0113-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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