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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
4-30-12

Golf International to Pay $25,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

Arizona Golf Course / Restaurant Fired Male Employee for Reporting Sexual Harassment of Women, Federal Agency Charged

PHOENIX – A Fountain Hills, Ariz.- based golf course and restaurant has agreed to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that charged the company with retaliation in violation of federal law, the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit charged that Golf International violated civil rights law when it fired Jeffrey White one day after he submitted an internal complaint reporting that several female employees felt they had been sexually harassed by the head chef.  After White filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC, the company offered to hire White back if he dropped his EEOC charge.  Golf International later rehired White, but terminated him again several weeks later, the EEOC said.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The 48-month consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge David G. Campbell, requires Golf International to pay $25,000 to White, provide ongoing training to its employees regarding unlawful employment discrimination and retaliation, and to review and revise, as necessary, its policies related to workplace discrimination.  The decree also requires Golf International to post notices in the workplace explaining federal civil rights laws generally and employees’ specific rights to be free of harassment and retaliation on the job.

“Employment discrimination cannot be stopped or corrected if employees do not feel free to report it,” EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill said.  “The law’s protections against retaliation are absolutely critical to enforcement of employees’ civil rights.  We are pleased that Golf International worked cooperatively with us to resolve this case and that they will train their current and future employees that discrimination and retaliation are unlawful and will not be tolerated.  We are hopeful that this agreement will help promote a discrimination-free workplace going forward.”

EEOC Phoenix District Director Rayford O. Irvin said, “We are committed to fighting discrimination in all its forms, and we continue to see an increase in the number of employees complaining of retaliation.  Employers must know that the law protects employees who report discriminatory treatment to their employers or the EEOC.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and part of New Mexico.  The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.