$87,500 Settlement for Retaliation Case, Training Ordered

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Question:  Would discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Delta Family Health and Fitness for Children, a psychiatric resident treatment center in Hamburg, Ark., will pay $87,500 to settle a lawsuit for retaliation brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.

The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 9-1058) alleged that Delta violated federal anti-discrimination law when it fired an employee who complained about sexual harassment, an identified witness to the discrimination, and two other employees who had filed charges with the EEOC. One employee complained about sexual harassment on Jan. 4, 2008, and named a co-worker as a witness to the harassment. Both employees were terminated on Jan. 7, 2008. Two other employees filed charges of discrimination with the agency. Both of these employees were terminated on Oct. 24, 2008. 

Retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arkansas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to aggressively pursue remedies for retaliation victims,” said Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and certain counties in Mississippi. “We are pleased at this outcome, which hammers in the message that retaliation is illegal.”

Pamela Dixon, an EEOC trial attorney, added, “While Delta denied that it had violated the law, we commend the company for working in a cooperative manner with the EEOC to resolve the lawsuit.”

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit, approved by U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes, enjoins Delta from engaging in further reprisal or retaliation of any kind against any person for opposing any discriminatory practice. Delta will provide anti-retaliation training to all personnel, submit reports to the EEOC describing the training and any complaints of retaliation, and post a notice reinforcing the company’s policies on Title VII.

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