U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Male Employee Fired After Alleging He Was Sexually Harassed by Female Supervisor, Federal Agency Charges
MOBILE, Ala. – Mobile Community Action, Inc. has agreed to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the private domestic non-profit corporation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by firing Donte Bumpers after he opposed sexually discriminatory practices.
According to the suit filed by the EEOC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (Civil Action No.1:10-CV-00403), Bumpers was exposed to numerous instances of unwelcome and offensive sexual remarks and sexual touching by a female supervisor. His resistance to the misconduct influenced the supervisor to retaliate by requiring him to perform demeaning personal tasks unassociated with his job responsibilities. When he complained about the behavior, he was discharged, 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 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The settlement terms, set forth in the consent decree, require Mobile Community Action to pay $65,000 in compensatory damages to Bumpers plus reasonable attorneys fees. The decree also contains non-monetary provisions to ensure that the supervisors and managers are properly trained to fully comply with employment discrimination laws. The terms of the decree further require Mobile Community Action to establish workable procedures employees can take to report sexual misconduct. Further, it requires posting a notice for employees, reinforcing the company’s policies on Title VII, in addition to establishing guidelines for investigating discrimination complaints.
“This settlement further illustrates the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace is not gender-specific,” said EEOC District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas. “All employees should be allowed to perform their jobs without being subjected to abuse or to retaliation for reporting it.”
C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, said, “This settlement achieves the EEOC’s objectives by providing appropriate relief to the victim while implementing measures to prevent this kind of misconduct in the future.”
Mobile Community Action, Inc. is a private domestic non-profit corporation incorporated in 1966, with the assistance of grants from the Alabama Department of Economic Assistance (ADECA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Head Start), operates a Head Start program and provides other community services (e.g., Weatherization, Utility Assistance, GED preparation classes) to qualifying families in the Mobile area. It employed 352 people at the time the discrimination charge was filed.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.