A seafood company that harvests and processes shellfish in Skagit County is accused of allowing a supervisor to sexually harass several female workers, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The commission alleges Trans Ocean Seafoods Inc., which does business as New England Shellfish, violated federal civil rights law in not properly responding to complaints that a supervisor made unwanted sexual comments to four workers on multiple occasions in 2012.
The lawsuit also contends a company manager retaliated against three of the women and a male employee after complaints were made both internally and to the commission.
The four women are Latina, and one was 17 years old when the harassment is alleged to have occurred, Nancy Sienko, the commission’s Seattle field director, said in a news release.
Neither a Trans Ocean Seafoods representative, nor lawyers representing the commission could be reached for comment Friday.
Trans Ocean Seafoods runs a processing plant on Produce Lane in Mount Vernon and also has a business address in Bellingham. It is licensed to grow and harvest shellfish in South Skagit Bay, according to the state Department of Health’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection.
The firm is not affiliated with Trans-Ocean Products Inc. of Bellingham.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, seeks punitive and monetary damages, including back pay and compensation for emotional distress. It also asks the court to enter an injunction against the company requiring new training and compliance reporting on anti-discrimination laws.
No hearing dates have been set, according to court records.