A St. Joseph man is on track for a jury trial next year in his claim of employment discrimination against one of the city’s larger companies.
Bryson Pankau recently filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods and The Hillshire Brands Co., alleging he was sexually harassed by a supervisor.
Pankau alleges that despite his efforts to file a complaint on the incidents, no action was ever taken. He says he eventually was terminated from a position with the firm.
The suit states the actions began around June 2015, and contends there were three separate occasions of harassment from June 2016 and December 2017.
Pankau said the plant’s human resources department arranged for a meeting with him to discuss his concerns. He reported the incidents to the department during a session held Jan. 19, 2018. He was told to put his complaints in writing and submit them to human resources personnel. Court documents allege there was never any follow-up action to his complaint.
Despite a second attempt to file a written complaint, Pankau said he was terminated from the company for “absenteeism.” Tyson appealed his application seeking unemployment benefits.
Part of the lawsuit contends that the company failed to properly train or otherwise inform supervisors and employees on their duties and obligations under state civil rights laws. He also alleges a supervisor harmed him physically and emotionally through the harassment.
The trial is set for four days in mid-May 2020 before Judge Kate Schaefer.