BATH, Maine — Bath Iron Works has settled a civil lawsuit filed by a former preservation technician who claimed she was discriminated against and ultimately fired because of her gender.
Lana Smith of Bowdoinham was fired from BIW in September 2015 after working at the shipyard for five weeks.
According to a complaint filed in January 2017 in U.S. District Court, Smith was hired on Aug. 27, 2015, as a P10 preservation technician (painter) at the shipyard. She was assigned to work under supervisors who allegedly told her repeatedly — in front of other employees and supervisors — that she should not be working at BIW because she is a woman.
Topsham attorney Samuel S. Riotte wrote in the complaint that on or about Sept. 3, 2015, the supervisor told Smith that he “did not want [her] working there because [she] was a woman and this type of work is not for [her].”
Riotte added that the supervisor allegedly told Smith, “I would not ask my wife to do this work, so I’m not going to ask you to do this work.”
According to the complaint, another “back-up supervisor” who was supposed to be training made statements such as “God made women weak and men strong” and “God made women to do light work and men to do heavy, strong work.”
In early September, when Smith was hired for an electrician’s job at BIW, she was unable to start because her former supervisor allegedly never forwarded the necessary paperwork. Instead, she continued in her previous position, and the complaint alleges that after that the harassment continued and she complained her supervisor took no action.
Smith claimed she was fired after managers identified shortcomings that she attributed to lack of training.
Smith filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Dec. 24, 2015, as well as an amended complaint of discrimination on May 20, 2016, according to the complaint.
Smith received right to sue notices from both agencies in December 2016 after neither reviewed her complaint within the required 180 days, according to court documents.
The lawsuit charged BIW with violating the Maine Human Rights Act and Title VII by subjecting Smith to a hostile work environment based on her sex, discriminating against her on the basis of her sex, treating her differently than male employees, terminating her unfairly and illegally retaliating against her after she complained of the harassment.
The court was notified Jan. 26 of the settlement agreement, according to documents.
David Hench, spokesman for BIW, had no comment on Thursday. Topsham attorney Samuel Riotte, who represents Smith, did not immediately return a phone call Thursday morning.
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