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Kauai employer pays 2 firefighters in discrimination, retaliation settlement

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 8:30 a.m. HST, Aug 18, 2011

The federal government has ordered a New York-based company at Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility to pay $215,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by two firefighters.

The settlement was announced today by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit in June 2010 on behalf of the firefighters against ITT Corp, a high technology engineering and manufacturing company.

The plaintiffs alleged that male co-workers and supervisors subjected a female firefighter to overtly sexual remarks and drawings. The woman is one of only two female firefighters in ITT's private fire-fighting service at at Barking Sands on Kauai's west side.

Despite her objections, the woman was forced to watch "sexually explicit cable television programs" at work in 2006, EEOC officials said.

Although she complained about the sexual harassment, management failed to recognize the problem and respond in a manner consistent with federal law, according to the EEOC.  Instead, she was reassigned, disciplined and instructed to "get along." 

The complaint also said that a male union steward who helped the woman with her civil rights complaint was reassigned in August 2007 in retaliation for opposing the harassment.

ITT, one of the largest employers on the Garden Island, did not admit any guilt in the settlement. As part of the settlement, ITT entered into a three-year consent decree providing for monetary relief for the two victims.

There was no immediate comment from the ITT's New York headquarters.

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