The lawsuit alleges that Ingalls and a contractor overlooked a supervisor’s predatory behavior.
A recently filed lawsuit claims that military ship-builder Huntington Ingalls Industries and its contractor, NSC Technologies, repeatedly overlooked a supervisor’s sexual abuse of cleaning staff.
The supervisor, employed at Ingalls’ Pascagoula shipyard, allegedly masturbated in front of female employees, coerced at least one into having sex with him, groped others, and made crude, sexual comments.
The lawsuit, filed by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in U.S. District Court in Alabama, accuses Huntington Ingalls—the military’s biggest ship-building contractor—and NSC Technologies of violating provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and retaliation against anyone who reports it.
In its complaint, the E.E.O.C. specifically names two female plaintiffs, but alleges that multiple other women were abused by the Pascagoula supervisor between September 2017 and May 2018.
The male supervisor—identified by The Sun Herald as Patrick Dingle—was a superintendent on the Coast Guard 7 ship.
Dingle allegedly exposed himself to female workers, groped them, and sexually harassed them. He purportedly coerced at least one woman into having sexual intercourse, saying that he would have her position terminated if she refused.
“Sometimes,” Dingle is said to have told the employee, “you have to do what you have to do to keep your job.”
Dingle, claims the E.E.O.C., was predatory in his conduct, seeking out women only when he knew they were working online, or when there were no other men around.
Cleaning staff were purportedly afraid to work around Dingle, and reported him to managers.
However, management showed little concern, and appeared more worried about the possibility of NSC Technologies losing its contract with Ingalls.
Nonetheless, word apparently got back to Dingle, who the lawsuit claims threatened to harm a woman if he lost his job over sexual harassment complaints.
The women later made a complaint to the E.E.O.C., who investigated and found their accusations credible enough to launch a federal lawsuit.
“[Dingle’s] conduct was open and pervasive and well-known [sic] to Defendants,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit asserts that at least two female employees lost their jobs because of Dingle, one after she refused to have sex with him.
When that woman reported the harassment to NSC recruiter Alexandria Rucker, Rucker acknowledged that “she knew that other female employees had made similar complaints but that there was nothing she could do.”
Rucker then said that the woman should not do anything that could cause NSC Technologies to lose its contract with Ingalls.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is asking the district court to order the companies and their employees to stop sexual harassment and retaliation, and to implement policies and training programs to prevent such incidences from recurring.
The agency is also requesting punitive damages for “malicious and reckless conduct,” back pay for the women and compensation for their financial losses, and compensation for emotional pain and suffering.