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EEOC sues tool and die maker over sexual harassment claims

The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that it has sued Paragould-based Ranger Tool and Die over allegations of sexual harassment.

Ranger Tool and Die, Inc. (Ranger), an industrial machine shop with
sites in Paragould and Jonesboro, Arkansas, violated federal law by failing to prevent sexual harassment at its Jonesboro site and then retaliating against employees who complained, according to a lawsuit filed today by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the EEOC lawsuit, an employee first complained of sexual harassment to owner John Wallace, and a second employee complained to the Jonesboro site manager about a month after the first complaint. Ranger fired both women on the day of the second complaint. The next day, when a male colleague objected to the woman’s dismissal simply for complaining of sexual harassment,
Ranger also fired him.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from sexual harassment and retaliation. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Northern Division, Civil Action No. 3:22-cv-00247-DPM, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks monetary relief in the form of back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits, and an injunction against future discrimination.

“An employer cannot punish an employee for complaining of treatment that they reasonably believe constitutes discrimination,” said Edmond Sims, acting district manager of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “Firing an employee for a complaint creates a chilling effect in the workplace and discourages others from complaining.”

Ranger was founded in 1999 with its main headquarters in Paragould, Arkansas and a second location in Jonesboro, Arkansas. According to its website, Ranger service businesses are located in northern Arkansas, western Tennessee, and southern Missouri.