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A Havre de Grace plastic container maker fired a female employee in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit announced Monday.

In the suit filed filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the federal agency alleges Plastipak Packaging Inc. violated federal law when it fired materials handler Carrie Vargas, an employee of Plastipak and a temporary agency that assigned her to the Harford County facility.

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A spokesman for Plastipak could not be reached Monday. The Plymouth, Mich.-based firm has annual sales of $2.4 billion and makes more than 20 billion containers a year, according to its website.

The lawsuit said Vargas rejected sexual advances from another employee, who then complained to a supervisor about false work infractions. When Vargas complained in June 2014 to her immediate supervisor, she was fired. Plastipak told the temporary agency the firing was in her "best interest," according to the lawsuit.

Retaliation "only magnifies the problem," said Spencer H. Lewis Jr., EEOC's Philadelphia district director, in a statement. "It hurts the worker who loses a job through no fault of her own, and it harms the employer who then may be liable for both sexual harassment and retaliation."

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