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PRESS RELEASE
8-21-13

EEOC Sues Guardian Angel Ambulance Service for Breach of a Settlement Agreement

Ambulance Company Failed to Make Promised Payments to Resolve Race and Sex Discrimination Charge, Federal Agency Says

PITTSBURGH -- Guardian Angel Ambulance Service, Inc. violated federal law by failing to comply with a negotiated agreement settlement of a discrimination charge, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the lawsuit, Mekia Austin filed a charge of discrimination alleging that she had been sexually harassed and terminated because of her race (black) and sex. Austin died during the EEOC's investigation. The ambulance service entered into a pre-determination settlement agreement to resolve the charge. It agreed to pay a total of $5,000 to Austin's two surviving minor children, but the company paid only $800 to the children, the EEOC charged.

To enforce the terms of the settlement agreement, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (EEOC v. Guardian Angel Ambulance Service, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-01205). The EEOC is requesting a court order requiring the ambulance service to pay $4,200, plus interest, to the minor children, report the payments to the EEOC after they are made, and pay the EEOC's costs in filing this action.

Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "When an employer refuses to honor the promises it made in a voluntary settlement agreement, the EEOC will file suit to enforce that agreement."

District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office added, "We encourage employers and charging parties to reach a resolution that both parties find satisfactory. A voluntary settlement is not an admission of liability, and it often saves all parties the time and expense of a full investigation or even possible litigation. But the EEOC will take action if an employer fails to comply with a negotiated settlement agreement."

The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.