A local with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters violated federal law when it failed to take action against its business agent despite notice that he allegedly sexually harassed and verbally assaulted women, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the union.
Teamsters Union Local No. 455, a certified collective bargaining representative and labor organization, was sued Wednesday in federal court in Denver by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The local is headquartered in Lakeside.
In September of 2020, during a meeting between the male business agent and a United Parcel Service supervisor, the agent cornered the woman at her desk, “propositioned her for sex in the office with the blinds closed and doors locked, ran his hand up her thigh,” and committed other lewd acts, according to an EEOC news release on the lawsuit.
The UPS supervisor reported the incident to the Boulder Police Department and criminal charges were filed.
“The Teamsters’ business agent pled guilty to the criminal charge in Boulder County Court,” the release said. “The business agent’s conviction resulted in an 18-month probation sentence, a community service requirement, a letter of apology, and a restraining order.”
The news release, which did not name the agent, said the Teamsters “had been previously aware of similar conduct by the business agent, who is supervised by the union president” and that the union failed to take appropriate remedial measures despite being placed on notice of two prior incidents against women.
The lawsuit was filed after an attempt to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed, according to the EEOC. The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for a woman who filed a discrimination charge, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future harassment and retaliation in the workplace.
“Sexual harassment continues to be an all-too-common occurrence and the EEOC is committed to holding employers and labor organizations accountable,” said EEOC Denver Field Director Amy Burkholder, in the release.
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