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Friday, July 18, 2008
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Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the City of Ecorse, Michigan Alleging Sex Discrimination

WASHINGTON The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the City of Ecorse, Mich., alleging that the city discriminated against two women formerly employed in the city clerk’s office by subjecting them to sexual harassment by their supervisor that created a hostile work environment.

The complaint alleges that the supervisor, the former city clerk, subjected the two women to harassment from fall 2005 into spring 2006 by, among other actions, regularly asking them out on dates, engaging in offensive touching and directing sexually-charged comments toward them. In addition, the complaint alleges that the supervisor repeatedly requested sex from one of the women, and conditioned his approval for her to attend work-related training on her acquiescence to his demands. The complaint also alleges that the city failed or refused to take any action to prevent and correct the harassment.

"Women should not have to endure this type of treatment in the workplace," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue cases in which a public employer turns a blind eye to sexual harassment and fails to take prompt and effective action to stop sexual harassment in the workplace."

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the bases of sex, race, national origin and religion, and prohibits retaliation against those persons engaging in protected activity. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has jurisdiction to bring lawsuits under Title VII against state and local governments, and the continued enforcement of Title VII has been a priority of the Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its Web site at