A Bowdoinham woman is suing Bath Iron Works, saying she was subjected to repeated gender discrimination at the shipyard during her five weeks on the job.

Lana Smith said BIW hired her as a preservation technician in August 2015 but she was never given training for the job because of her gender. Preservation technicians are painters who also prepare surfaces for painting.

Smith said her supervisor told her she should not have been hired because she is a woman and that the supervisor “did not want (her) working there because (she) was a woman and this type of work is not for” her, Smith alleges in a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Portland.

“I would not ask my wife to do this work, so I’m not going to ask you to do this work,” she said the supervisor told her, and that sentiment was overheard by other workers and repeated to her by one co-worker.

The supervisor and the co-worker refused to give Smith training, she alleges, and as a result, she was mostly assigned basic cleaning jobs. She occasionally was given a preservation technician’s work, she said, only because she was small enough to access tight spaces.

When Smith was given a BIW electrician’s job – a position she had applied for before being offered the preservation technician’s job – her initial supervisor at the yard never provided the paperwork she needed to transfer to the new job, the lawsuit said.


And, Smith alleges, she was given a 120-hour performance review that she objected to, but the supervisor wouldn’t provide her with a copy of the review. Smith said she later found out that she was the only new hire in the department given such a review.

Smith also said a co-worker was spreading rumors about her and that the company was unresponsive to her complaints, firing her in late September 2015 after another review, even though it indicated that her job performance was improving.

David Hench, a spokesman for BIW, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Smith had initiated a case with the Maine Human Rights Commission, but opted to sue after more than six months had elapsed without the commission taking up her allegations. A spokeswoman said the commission had initiated a preliminary review but hadn’t progressed to a formal hearing before the six-month period had elapsed.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

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