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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
12-3-09

Bankruptcy Trustee Settles Retaliation Suit On Behalf Of Debtor EaglePicher Technologies, LLC

EEOC Says Joplin Plant Fired Employee After She Participated in Sex Bias Case

ST. LOUIS  -- EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005,  has settled a retaliation and termination lawsuit with the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for over $35,000 through its  bankruptcy trustee, the agency announced today.

The suit, filed by the EEOC on  behalf of EaglePicher Technologies employee Brenda McCollum, was based on the  company’s 2004 termination of her. The EEOC alleged the firing was in  retaliation for McCollum’s complaints of sex discrimination and her  participation in a 2003 discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

McCollum and seven other female  employees at EaglePicher’s Joplin, Mo.-based facility shared a $200,000  settlement obtained by the EEOC in 2003.  According to the EEOC, McCollum continued working at the company after  the 2003 suit, but she was subjected to retaliatory treatment by management and  ultimately was terminated. McCollum  returned to work in 2005 after a union arbitrator determined that her  termination violated the union’s contract and ordered her reinstatement with  backpay. The EEOC alleged that McCollum’s  termination also violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that  she was entitled to additional backpay and compensatory damages. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based upon  race, color, religion, sex or national origin, as well as retaliation for  complaining about such discrimination.

The suit was resolved as part of a  case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio (EaglePicher Holdings, Inc., et al., Case  No. 05-12601). The bankruptcy court  approved the settlement on Nov. 20, and, after brief waiting period for  appeals, the settlement was made final this week. Because of the bankruptcy, McCollum is  expected to receive just over $12,000. EaglePicher  Technologies is an affiliate of EaglePicher Holdings, Inc.

“Time and again,  the EEOC sees cases where retaliation by employers is as bad, or even worse,  than the original discrimination,” said Regional Attorney Barbara A. Seely of  the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office.  “Employers must understand that the law prohibits not only  discrimination, but also retaliation against employees who complain about  discrimination, who file discrimination charges with the EEOC, or who  participate in discrimination lawsuits. Even if the initial discrimination  allegation is found to lack merit, employers are still liable for retaliation.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information  about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.