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Norfolk Ship Repair Under Fire Again for Workplace and Sexual Harassment in Virginia

— February 25, 2022

Employees feel this settlement did not result in positive change at their workplace as of 2021.

Several female employees at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair, a shipyard in Virginia that updates Navy warships, filed a civil lawsuit for sexual and workplace harassment of female employees.  Once such encounter reflected an experience of a worker who was consistently bombarded with offensive sexual comments, and not promoted in accordance with her hiring agreement.  When she enquired about a promotion and raise, her supervisor implied that he could supply whatever she needed suggesting a personal relationship.  Virginia sexual harassment lawyers are a valuable tool against workplace harassment claims. 

Class action suit

In 2013, a group of women working at BAE filed a class-action suit against their employer for workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination.  BAE agreed to a $3 million settlement in 2016, split among 166 women who worked for the company between 2007 and 2014, and an additional $1.15 million for attorney fees and expenses. The settlement also stipulated that supervisors should base promotion decisions on work-related criteria, like practical tests, and barred supervisors from using subjective measurements to decide raises.  Employees feel this settlement did not result in positive change at their workplace as of 2021, even though “as part of that mutual settlement agreement, the company agreed to take several actions over a two-year period to further improve its workforce.” In addition to the original complaints, employees are dealing with workplace retaliation. In 2020, 37,632 people filed retaliation charges with the EEOC, which represents over half of all charges filed with the EEOC that year. Victims should talk to experienced attorneys in Norfolk when a supervisor controlling their work activities, including promotion and upward mobility outweighs inaction to a reported claim, concerns of transferred blame to employee, and social/ professional stigmatization and retaliation.

Workplace policy

Employer policies should be referenced and a victim should use any employer complaint mechanism, or grievance system available. The more information contained in the complaint including proof of the allegations where possible will give strength to claims taken to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A positive settlement award may be the result of a strong case presented by seasoned lawyers working on a victim’s behalf.

Employer awareness

FBI Settles Lawsuit Filed By Long-time Agent Against Supervisors
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Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint, or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. Sexual harassment lawyers can assist human resource departments as they develop and maintain standard operating work policies to support methods that deter sexual harassment in the workplace.  

Recognizing retaliation

Changes in workplace interactions that have an adverse effect on an individual’s employment are the only changes that will support retaliatory claims.  If someone acts more professionally after an individual made a harassment complaint of over-friendliness for example, that does not support a retaliatory claim, but if they get fired for not being a “team player” shortly after filing that complaint, it is suspicious. Retaliation may come in a series of random acts that detract from an employee’s ability to advance in their job such as bad performance reviews, changes to job descriptions, micromanagement, exclusions from projects previously worked on, or requests to work less hours resulting in pay cuts.


Leadership and workplace culture may have positive impact on the reduction of sexual harassment in the workplace through harassment prevention efforts that include standard operating policies with outlined requirements of reporting, maintaining confidentiality and professionalism.  Supervisors and other responsible department personnel who observe, are informed of, or reasonably suspect sexual harassment claims might be filed, should immediately report such incidents and initiate prompt investigation. 


  1. Women at Norfolk shipyard say harassment lawsuit didn’t help – The 19th (

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