Man claims same-sex harassment caused him to quit his job

Judge's gavel
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

A man who worked for a company that delivers carbon dioxide to hospitality outlets for carbonation of their beverages claims pervasive same-sex harassment caused him to quit his job.

Last month, Timothy Jenkins filed a federal lawsuit against NuC02, a Florida-based company that provides carbon dioxide to numerous hospitality outlets throughout the country, including in the Philadelphia region.

Jenkins was a nighttime driver for NuCO2, working out of the company’s Aston, Delaware County office. Jenkins was employed by NuCO2 for about two years, before quitting in the summer of 2023. He earned $28.64 an hour, according to his 11-page lawsuit.

Jenkins alleges that a co-worker who is much older than him repeatedly harassed him sexually. The alleged offender made comments indicating that he found Jenkins sexually desirable, according to the lawsuit.

In November 2021, Jenkins began reporting to management the alleged sexual harassment he was experiencing, to no avail.

“After reporting the offending employee, [NuCO2] did not take prompt or appropriate action to prevent, correct, and remedy same-sex harassment,” the lawsuit alleges.

The same-sex harassment increased after the harasser obtained Jenkins’ personal cell phone number and harassed Jenkins telephonically,  according to the lawsuit.

Jenkins made it clear to the alleged harasser that the harassment was unwelcomed, but that didn’t stop the unwanted overtures, according to the lawsuit.

In March 2023, Jenkins reported to management that the ongoing harassment was a form of sex discrimination banned by federal law, according to the lawsuit.

In the spring of 2023, a manager at NuCO2 tried to discourage Jenkins from filing a formal complaint against the company regarding the alleged same-sex harassment.

The manager asserted that Jenkins, in actuality, was concerned about alleged age discrimination, because Jenkins was targeted by the alleged harasser due to being young. However, Jenkins insisted he was victimized due to sex discrimination, according to the lawsuit.

When the harassing employee learned about Jenkins’ complaints to management, he retaliated against Jenkins by making unfavorable statements about Jenkins’ work performance.

“The harassing employee made negative remarks to [Jenkins] about his work that were unwarranted,” the lawsuit states.

On May 9, 2023, Jenkins sent an email to management, reiterating that he’d been victimized due to workplace sex discrimination and that he followed proper procedures to complain about it.

However, management never provided a written response to Jenkins’ email, nor did it adequately investigate Jenkins’ concerns, according to the lawsuit.

“Were [Jenkins] female, his concerns would have been investigated as concerns of harassment based on sex,” the lawsuit states. “However, [Jenkins’] concerns were not addressed as concerns of sexual harassment on account of [Jenkins’] sex and/or based on the sex stereotype that men cannot be victims of sexual harassment.”

In August 2023, NuCO2 failed to promote Jenkins to a higher position that he sought, allegedly due to retaliation for Jenkins’ complaints about the same-sex harassment. The person selected for the position had less seniority than Jenkins, according to the lawsuit.

Shortly thereafter, Jenkins terminated his position at NuCO2, due to severe stress engendered by the alleged sexual harassment and other mistreatment, according to the lawsuit. 

Jenkins subsequently filed an antibias complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). On March 21, 2024, the EEOC sent a right-to-sue letter to Jenkins, clearing the way for Jenkins to sue NuCO2 for sex discrimination in federal court.

Jenkins is seeking more than $150,000 in damages; a neutral job reference; and a workplace policy at NuCO2 regarding same-sex harassment that conforms to relevant laws.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez. A jury trial has been requested by Jenkins. Neither side had a comment for this story.

Newsletter Sign-up