An ambulance company agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a suit lodged by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the company allowed supervisors to sexually harass female paramedics and retaliated against a worker by firing her for complaining.
U.S. District Judge William B. Campbell approved a four-year consent decree Monday in which MedicOne Medical Response of Tennessee Inc. and MedicOne Medical Response of Middle TN Inc. agreed to pay $450,000 to resolve the suit filed by the EEOC on behalf of a group of female employees.
"The parties stipulate the terms and conditions of this decree are fair, reasonable, adequate and serve the public interest in eradicating sexual harassment and retaliation," according to the filing.
MedicOne is headquartered in Farmers Branch, Texas, but the company operates ambulance services in Tennessee, Mississippi and Illinois.
The claim was filed in October 2020, claiming MedicOne fostered a hostile work environment by allowing supervisors to make unwanted sexual advances toward female employees.
In 2017, Jena Phillips began working as a paramedic for MedicOne in Nashville, Tennessee. She received inappropriate text messages from her supervisor Josh Logan, who requested sexual favors from her and sent her photographs of his penis, according to the suit. "Logan told J. Phillips on several occasions that he wanted to have sex with her and the positions he wanted to try with her," according to the complaint.
Phillips was terminated in April 2018 after she complained about the sexual harassment, according to the suit. The EEOC said MedicOne retaliated against Phillips for her complaints.
Monday's decree settles the suit and two EEOC discrimination charges filed on behalf of the paramedics. MedicOne agreed to revise the company's sexual harassment policy and provide annual sexual harassment training to all employees, according to Monday's decree.
The company agreed to revise the company’s sexual harassment policy and provide annual sexual harassment training to all employees. Along with an effort to distribute the revised sexual harassment policy to employees at all of its locations and keep a record of all employees who complain about sexual harassment.
According to the decree, the EEOC will allocate the settlement payments to the female paramedics for back pay and compensatory damages.
Faye Williams, the EEOC's regional counsel in Memphis, said in a statement Tuesday that employers are responsible for creating a safe work environment.
"We hope that this resolution sends a clear message that employers cannot tolerate sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace," Williams said. "We commend MedicOne for its commitment in taking substantial steps to create a safe working environment for its employees."