Employment suits pending against agribusinesses
By Ray Scherer, St. Joseph News-Press (MO)
Now Mar 12, 2019
Two of the South Side’s major agribusinesses are facing discrimination lawsuits filed by former employees, with one of the civil cases already set for a 2020 jury trial.
Tayler Nowak, a former employee of Triumph Foods, has filed suit against the company based on alleged unlawful discrimination and harassment, based on her sex. She also is alleging retaliation for pursuing action under the Missouri Human Rights Act. A five-day trial in April 2020 has been scheduled by Judge Kate Schaefer.
Court documents state Nowak began working at Triumph in 2012 and was terminated in mid-November 2017. She complained to the company in 2015 that she was harassed by a maintenance supervisor, who was terminated from her position in the microbiology department due to the complaint.
Nowak said that in 2016, she participated in a workplace harassment investigation that concerned a supervisor. During that inquiry, she was allegedly told that her involvement in talks regarding another supervisor’s conduct “doesn’t look well” and that she was “looked at differently in the company because of these investigations.”
She added that she wasn’t allowed to advance or transfer within the company, and that a male supervisor scrutinized her work and continually made gender-based and sexually suggestive remarks. The supervisor also accused her of arriving late for her shift, with Nowak adding that the supervisor showed preference to a co-worker.
Nowak said the supervisor was partial to a co-worker, and that she was fired so the supervisor could replace her with the co-worker.
Each of three counts in the lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in damages for alleged retaliation, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
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