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Volume XII, Number 225

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Members of Moreland Auto Group Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit for Retaliation

Former  Employee to Receive Maximum Amount Allowed Based on Size of Employer

Three companies which  are part of the “Dealin’ Doug” Moreland Automotive Group have agreed to pay  $50,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit that charged the companies with firing a  former employee in retaliation for her participation in a prior EEOC sexual  harassment lawsuit. 

According to the EEOC lawsuit, Lucille Fancher, a ten-year  employee, complained to manage­ment about a sexually hostile work environment  and therefore was a participant entitled to a portion of the settlement in the  prior lawsuit.  The EEOC claimed that when  settlement was imminent, Fancher was called into a meeting with the general manager  and told that if she received money as part of a settlement of the lawsuit, she  would no longer have a job.  The EEOC charged  that on June 3, 2008, the same day that settlement documents were due in federal  court, Fancher was terminated, while another employee who did not accept her  share of the settlement was not fired. 

Retaliation for participating in an EEOC lawsuit violates  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC  v. Moreland Auto Group, LLLP, Kids’ Financial, Inc.,  d/b/a C.A.R. Finance, Kids’ Automotive, Inc., and Brandon Financial, Inc., Civil Action No. 11-cv-01512-RBJ-MJW) in U.S.  District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settle­ment through its conciliation process.

The $50,000 payment is the maximum amount that may be  awarded against employers with fewer than 101 employees.  In addition to the monetary settlement, the  two-year consent decree settling the suit requires the companies post notice of  the decree in the workplace, provide live employee training on  anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws, and provide periodic reports to  the EEOC.

“If companies are allowed to  retaliate against employees just because they report harassment or offer  testimony, or participate in the settlement of an employment discrimination  claim, then we cannot expect people to speak out against injustice,” said  Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, whose office’s  jurisdiction includes Colorado.  “If  people can’t speak out, then discrimination remains unchecked.”

EEOC Denver Field Office  Director Nancy Sienko added, “We hope this settlement will serve as an example  to all employers that this agency takes retaliation seriously and will  vigorously protect people’s rights to challenge discrimination.”

© Copyright U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 217
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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