Accusations over sexual harassment continue to hang over a staffing buyer and staffing supplier after a judge last week refused to dismiss the case.

Atlantic Capes Fisheries Inc. and staffing firm BJ’s Service Co. Inc. were sued last year by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a putative class-action lawsuit. The agency claimed the companies maintained a hostile work environment at a seafood processing plant in Fall River, Mass., where female workers were subject to ongoing sexual harassment.

The companies had argued in motions to dismiss the lawsuit that the EEOC did not satisfy its obligation to investigate and mediate the situation prior to the lawsuit. But the judge ruled otherwise. In her order, Judge Patti B. Saris said there were conciliation efforts but the companies did not allege deficiencies in those efforts. The judge also said the EEOC was reasonable in not releasing identities of the entire class.

The EEOC alleges female employees were subject to sexual harassment at the plant and that they took their concerns to supervisors and managers of both the buyer and staffing firm. The harassment continued, and when three women filed charges of sex discrimination with the EEOC, two were fired, according to the agency.