Kentucky Bourbon Company Sued for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Charles W. Miller & Associates

Maker’s Mark is known across the country for its ability to make bourbon in Kentucky. On April 6, the Kentucky employment law firm of Charles W. Miller & Associates filed a lawsuit against Maker’s Mark on behalf of five female employees of the distillery. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, alleges that Maker’s Mark broke numerous state and federal laws.

The female workers allege in the complaint that their troubles started before and got worse after answering a survey distributed by Maker’s Mark. The survey asked employees to tell if they had ever experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or any other type of discrimination at work. The five women answered positively, and they claim they have been treated negatively since then.

Before the survey, the women say they were subjected to a hostile work environment. This situation can occur in a variety of ways, but ultimately it makes the workers feel uncomfortable enough at work that they may consider quitting. In this case, the women claim that indecent exposure occurred, inappropriate birthday cards were sent, and sexual encounters were retold while they were trying to work. This type of behavior from co-workers made Maker’s Mark and uncomfortable place to work for them.

The lawsuit also alleges that they were victims of sexual harassment. One type of sexual harassment occurs when someone is subjected to unwanted sexual advances or is propositioned. This is the type of harassment that the women encountered at the distillery. Discrimination based on an employee’s gender was also noted by the women. They state that they were denied certain positions and were not promoted on certain occasions simply because they were women.

After filling out the survey, all five women were questioned about their answers. The lawsuit claims that those interviews led to workplace retaliation. Retaliation occurs when employees are treated negatively by a company after formally or informally lodging a complaint against the company. Retaliation is illegal under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The women in the case state Maker’s Mark retaliated against them by not giving them promotions and not notifying them of new job openings after the survey interviews. One of the women who had worked at the Kentucky distillery since 2002 was even fired from her job a couple of months after the interviews.

The Kentucky employment attorneys at Charles W. Miller & Associates are representing the five women in this case and are looking forward to using our expertise and legal knowledge to win the compensation they deserve. If you have an employment issue, we welcome the chance to assist you. Our office is located in Louisville, Kentucky, but we have clients throughout Kentucky and Indiana.


5 women sue over alleged sexual discrimination at Maker’s Mark distillery; The Courier-Journal; Jere Downs; May 5, 2012
Maker’s Mark facing ‘hostile workplace’ lawsuit; The Kentucky Standard; Stephen Lega; April 21, 2012

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