Wisconsin-based Jack Link's to pay $50K to former Minnesota employee in sexual harassment case

Associated Press

Beef jerky maker Jack Link's has agreed to pay $50,000 to a former employee who quit after working several months at a Mankato facility because her supervisor made repeated sexual advances toward her.

Wisconsin-based Jack Link's knew of the harassment and, after initially disciplining the supervisor, gave him a promotion and the harassment continued, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights said Tuesday in a news release announcing the settlement.

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"This is an unusual case in that the employer took the right step in originally disciplining the supervisor," said Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. "The employer however undermined its efforts by not subsequently monitoring the actions" of the supervisor.

Steve Jandrich, a human resources official for the company, said in a statement Wednesday that the company immediately launched an investigation and took appropriate action by firing the supervisor.

In August 2012, the 35-year-old woman was hired as a lead line worker with the company. Almost immediately, the supervisor began making sexual advances, calling her "baby," saying she was beautiful and asking if she was single, according to the department's investigation.

Two months later, the woman reported the harassment and the supervisor was given a two-day suspension. A couple of weeks later, after the supervisor had returned to work, he was promoted to be the woman's immediate supervisor, which gave him more direct access to her.

The woman quit four months after being hired because she could no longer "tolerate what is going on at work."

In addition to paying the former employee, Jack Links must hold sexual harassment training for managerial and supervisory employees in Minnesota.