ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Alternative Staffing, Inc., a Charleston, S.C.-based temporary employment staffing firm, and Clancy & Theys, a construction company headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., violated federal law by subjecting a class of female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today. The EEOC’s further charged that Alternative Staffing forced three female employees out of their jobs because of their sex. Finally, the EEOC said, Clancy & Theys interfered with the equal employment opportunities of its female employees.

According to the EEOC’s suit, from June 2006 through at least July 12, 2006, Shequann Singleton, Tasha Collier, Tomeka Sanders and other similarly situated female employees were subjected to sexual harassment. Singleton, Collier and Sanders were employed by Alternative Staffing and assigned to work at Clancy & Theys’ work site in Orangeburg, S.C. The sexual harassment included inappropriate sexual comments, requests for sex, and unwelcome touching of the women’s breasts and buttocks. The women were allegedly harassed by a labor foreman of Clancy & Theys who supervised Singleton, Collier and Sanders, and by employees of a third-party contrac­tor performing work at Clancy & Theys’ work site. The women complained about the sexual harassment to Alternative Staffing’s office manager and asked to be transferred to another work site because of the harassment, but their request was denied. The women also complained to Clancy & Theys’ foreman.

Despite the women’s complaints, the EEOC said, the harassment continued. In addition, after the women complained, a manager of Clancy & Theys said he did not want the women to return to work for Clancy & Theys. As a result of the harassment, the women were forced to resign.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Alternative Staffing, Inc. and Clancy & Theys Construction Co., Civ. No. 5:09-cv-2067-MBS-JRM) in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

The EEOC seeks an injunction to stop Alternative Staffing, Inc. and Clancy & Theys Construction Co. from engaging in any employment practice which discriminates on the basis of sex. The suit also seeks monetary damages for Shequann Singleton, Tasha Collier, Tomeka Sanders and other similarly situated female employees.

Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, said, “This case is a reminder to employers that they must provide a harassment-free environment for their employees, regardless of who the perpetrators of the harassment are. Third parties can create a sexually hostile work environment for a company’s employees, and that is just as illegal.”