Towing Company Must Pay Person Alleging Discrimination Under Mediated Agreement
NEW ORLEANS - A U.S. District Court on Tuesday entered judgment against a New Orleans based towing company for failing to respond to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for breaching an EEOC mediation agreement of a pregnancy discrimination charge.
According to the EEOC's suit (Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-3874 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana), TRU Towing breached its mediation settlement agreement with the EEOC and Devora Hampton, under which it agreed to pay $5,500 to resolve a pregnancy discrimination claim.
The EEOC's lawsuit alleges that on Jan. 31, 2018, TRU Towing's owner, Brian Ballard, and Ms. Hampton entered into an agreement to settle her charge during mediation. The company refused to pay the money owned to her and, thus, the EEOC filed suit seeking enforcement of the contractual agreement and payment of the settlement money.
TRU Towing was served with the suit, and despite concerted efforts by the EEOC, they failed to answer the lawsuit or even appear in court. As such, the EEOC moved to have the court enter a judgment by default in their favor, which was granted by the court on October 17, 2018. Additionally, the court ordered TRU Towing and its owner Brain Ballard to pay Hampton the $5500.00 amount agreed to during mediation.
Rudy Sustaita, the EEOC's regional attorney in Houston, said, "The EEOC's mediation program fulfills an important role in our enforcement program. The EEOC will not tolerate intentional breaches by any company who participates in the EEOC mediation program as it invalidates the program. We want to send a clear message the EEOC will file suit to obtain compliance with its settlement agreements."
"The EEOC's mediation program is an important part of the agency's enforcement mission in remedying victims of discrimination," said Keith T. Hill, field director of the agency's New Orleans Field Office, which is under its Houston District Office. "The EEOC wants to ensure discrimination victims remain confident they will receive the relief negotiated for them."
According to the company's website, TRU Towing operates a fleet of 20 trucks and has been in business for over 30 years.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.