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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-6-12

Kauai County in Hawaii Settles EEOC Race Harassment Case for $120,000

White County Attorney Subjected to Racially Disparaging Remarks by Top-Level Manager, Federal Agency Charged

HONOLULU - The County of Kauai in Hawaii will pay $120,000 to settle a federal charge of race harassment filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

A former attorney for the County of Kauai's Office of the Prosecuting Attorney since 2009 filed the EEOC charge of discrimination in 2010, prompting an investigation by the federal agency. The former attorney, who is white, alleged that she was harassed due to her race by a top-level manager. The manager allegedly made continually disparaging comments to the former attorney, saying that she needed to assimilate more into the local culture and break up with her boyfriend at the time, also white, in favor of a local boy.

The EEOC ultimately found reasonable cause to believe that the county violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the harassment to which the former attorney was subjected. Following the determination, the County of Kauai entered into an over two-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and the alleged victim. The agreement effectively settles the case administratively, thereby avoiding potential litigation. Aside from the monetary relief, the county agreed to establish policies and complaint procedures dealing with discrimination and harassment in the workplace and to provide live EEO training to all managers and supervisors. The county further agreed to post notices on the matter on all bulletin boards throughout the county and to permit the disclosure of the settlement.

"The workplace is no place for derogatory remarks pertaining to race or any other protected basis, and it is important for an employer to take immediate corrective action when faced with illegal harassment," said Timothy Riera, director of the EEOC's Honolulu Local Office. "We commend the County of Kauai for expeditiously resolving this matter and agreeing to measures which will prevent and deal with both harassment and discrimination on the job."

The County of Kauai's Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is a local government agency responsible for criminal prosecution under the laws of the state of Hawaii and the ordinances, rules and regulations of the county of Kauai.

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