Bremerton Naval shipyard worker reinstated, awarded damages following demotion for reporting sexual assault

A worker at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard has been reinstated to her job and awarded $85,000 in damages following a judge’s ruling that a supervisor retaliated against her for raising sexual harassment allegations.

Maria Martin is again a supervisor at the shipyard after being demoted in 2020, The Kitsap Sun reported.

When she complained that a supervisor had made sexual remarks toward her, another superior wrote a letter accusing her of "weaponiz(ing) the currently enhanced atmosphere of zero tolerance" toward sexual harassment.

But an administrative judge found her claims of sexual harassment valid and ruled she’d been demoted as retaliation for reporting it.

"What really stood out about Ms. Martin’s case was the very open and obvious nature of the retaliation," said Martin’s attorney, Chalmers Johnson, who was also awarded attorney’s fees paid by the Navy of an undisclosed amount.


2 injured in US naval submarine accident in Bremerton

Two U.S. Navy personnel suffered non-life-threatening injuries in an accident aboard a nuclear ballistic missile submarine docked at a maintenance facility at Puget Sound in Washington state, the Navy said.

Martin said there’s no satisfaction for her in the ruling.

"It’s still not really even justice," said Martin, who began as a tank cleaner at the shipyard in 2003 and was a supervisor in Shop 99, temporary shop services. "This experience, I would not wish on anybody."

The shipyard’s leadership said it respects the judge’s decision but could not comment on the case particulars.

Cesar Yabor, a spokesman for the shipyard, said that as a result of the investigation and allegations raised about the "culture problem" in the shop where Martin worked, shipyard leadership is "redoubling its efforts to halt abrasive or abusive language and unkind, disrespectful treatment by co-workers at every level of position in the Shipyard."

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The national sexual assault hotline is 1-800-656-4673

More resources on reporting sexual assault and getting help can be found here. 

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