Shedd Aquarium hit with lawsuit on allegations of sex discrimination
The Shedd Aquarium is at the center of a sex discrimination lawsuit.
The Shedd Aquarium is at the center of a sex discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Susan Catherine Edgerton, who lives in North Carolina. According to the federal lawsuit filed with Salvatore Prescott Porter & Porter, Edgerton experienced “an apologetically sexist work environment where degrading comments on women were the norm” while working on the Miami Aquarium research ship. She also claims she was wrongly fired.
Statue of the judge; Image by William Cho, via Pixabay.com.
Jennifer Salvatore is Edgerton’s attorney. In discussing the suit, she said Edgerton had “been treated in various ways with open hostility based on gender. She found the whole experience challenging and difficult. “Salvatore is a partner at Salvatore Prescott Porter & Porter. She added that “much of the recent work on gender discrimination involves circumstances that are subtle and difficult to resolve by the legal system … This was a case where the treatment of gender was fairly open.”
Edgerton joined the aquarium back in April 2018 when she was hired as the hospitality coordinator aboard Coral Reef II. Her tasks included the catering service, housekeeping and support with operation and maintenance. The Coral Reef II is a ship with which the aquarium is “researching the Bahamas” led by its staff scientistsas well as student trips and fundraisers that ask the public to pay to participate in some expeditions. “
According to Edgerton’s claims, male crew members created a hostile work environment by frequently using derogatory terms for women. For example, on the morning of November 2018, Edgerton said she was “sweaty after running, and then first mate Kip Mors looked at Edgerton’s chest and made an explicit, suggestive remark.” In addition, she claims that Captain Zoltan Bobick’s orders “did her physical harm at least twice”. At one point, Bobick ordered her to “jump 15 feet down from the ship’s deck to a concrete pier to help moor”. As a result, she suffered damage to both her ankles and feet, despite Bobick telling her to “make it difficult”. Months later she helped “paint the ship with toxic paint and felt weak from the fumes despite wearing a respirator, but was reprimanded for taking a break.”
Eventually, she raised concerns about the inequality she was receiving, and as a result, the captain began “expanding her work duties and adding notes to her personnel file as part of a plan to unfairly fire her,” the lawsuit said. On May 30, 2019, she was informed of her resignation.
As part of the lawsuit, Edgerton is seeking damages and punitive damages and a lawsuit.
When the aquarium responded to the suit, it said:
“Shedd Aquarium has followed and followed its strict policies and procedures regarding harassment and discrimination for decades. In addition, we carry out annual prevention and training measures for all employees. We do not tolerate any behavior that contradicts these guidelines and our values, not even on board our research vessel. We also note that Ms. Edgerton filed her claims with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in December 2019. We investigated the matter immediately and responded to the EEOC, and last week the agency stopped processing their claims. “
Shedd Aquarium research vessel worker alleges gender discrimination in lawsuit
Former employee accuses Shedd Aquarium of sexual discrimination