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PRESS RELEASE
6-6-12

Starr’s Mill Academy to Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC Suit for Unlawful Retaliation

Preschool / Child Care Center Sued Former Employee for Filing Discrimination Charge, Federal Agency Alleged

ATLANTA – Starr’s Mill Academy and Preschool Center, a Peachtree City family-owned child care facility, along with its attorney, will pay $40,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In its complaint, the EEOC alleged that Starr’s Mill subjected former employee Hazel Matthews-Forte to unlawful retaliation when it filed a lawsuit against her alleging that she made fraudulent statements about Starr’s Mill in her EEOC discrimination charge. Starr’s Mill then filed a third-party complaint against the attorney it had retained to file the lawsuit against Matthews-Forte. The employer claimed that the attorney gave it improper advice on filing the lawsuit against the former employee. In the settlement, both the employer and the attorney agreed to provide monetary relief to Matthews-Forte.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting to the EEOC and posting of anti-discrimination notices. Starr’s Mill denied any liability or wrongdoing in the suit.

“Cases of this type are extremely rare – employers generally don’t retaliate against employees after the employment relationship has ended, and certainly not by filing lawsuits against them,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

EEOC District director Bernice Williams-Kimbrough added, “Ms. Matthews-Forte’s ordeal will serve to promote awareness of employee rights in the community and, we hope, prevent such egregious forms of unlawful retaliation in the future.”

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