Nearly three years after an employee left a Jack Link's Mankato plant, claiming she was sexually harassed by a fellow worker, the company is now paying the woman tens of thousands of dollars as part of a settlement with the state.
The Minong, Wisconsin, company, which also has offices in Minneapolis, agreed to give the former employee $50,000 in the settlement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), according to a news release.
The company will also provide training to all managerial and supervisory employees on how to properly respond to sexual harassment, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
The agency says the harassment started almost immediately after the unidentified woman began work there in 2012, with her supervisor making a number of advances and inappropriate remarks toward her.
These include calling her "baby," commenting on her appearance, asking if she was single and questioning whether he was "too old for her."
After the worker complained, the supervisor was suspended for two days, only to be promoted to a position of authority directly above his accuser two weeks later, MDHR says.
From there, the release indicates, the harassment against the woman continued, and in December 2012 she informed the company she would be leaving as she could no longer "tolerate what is going on at work."
“This is an unusual case in that the employer took the right step in originally disciplining the supervisor,” MDHR Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said in the release, adding Jack Link's thens “undermined its efforts by not subsequently monitoring the actions of the alleged harasser."
An MDHR investigation found "multiple female employees" who confirmed the supervisor in question had a pattern of "making comments, inappropriately touching" and acting as if he were searching for a girlfriend.
In response, the agency issued a "probable cause discrimination finding" against Jack Link's for what it says was a failure to address sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to KSTP, Jack Link's said in a statement the company conducted its own investigation as soon as it learned of the charges and subsequently fired the man.