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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-14-10

EEOC Sues S.C. Holiday Inn Express Operator For Sex Discrimination

Female Maintenance Worker Fired Because of Her Sex, Federal Agency Charged

GREENVILLE , S.C. – The owner/operators of a Blythewood, S.C., Holiday Inn Express violated federal law by firing a female employee because of her gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a sex discrimination lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit against Blythewood Investments, Inc., the company hired Regina Lynn Smyth around July 19, 2007 in a maintenance position. Around July 4, 2008, Blythewood hired a new general manager. Shortly after his hire, the new GM began making comments about Smyth including that he could not believe that Holiday Inn had put a woman in her position because it was “man’s work.” The new GM regularly made other sexist comments to Smyth such as “You can’t do this; a man could do this faster,” and “He and I will take care of this – it’s man’s work.” When Smyth reported to work on September 12, 2008, she was given a letter of discipline and terminated by the new GM. Smyth was replaced by a male, the EEOC said, and Blythewood hired only men for the maintenance position from then on.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Blythewood Investments, Inc., d/b/a Holiday Inn Express, Civ. No. 3:10-cv-02393) in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. In its suit, the EEOC seeks back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.

“Unfortunately and incredibly, some employers still believe that a woman can not perform certain types of work,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “By firing a female employee based on that type of sexist stereotyping, an employer violates federal law and risks facing serious legal ramifications.”

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.

The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) originally investigated Smyth’s discrimination charge. SCHAC works with the EEOC in investigating charges of employment discrimination. These charges raise claims under South Carolina law as well as federal laws enforced by the EEOC. Further information about SCHAC is available on its website at www.state.sc.us/schac