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OfficeMax Settles EEOC’s Retaliation Suit for $85,000, Injunctive Relief

Ex-Employee Alleged a Series of Retaliatory Actions By  Store Manager After Complaining About Discrimination

SARASOTA, Fla. - OfficeMax, an office  and technology supply store, will pay $85,000 and target recruitment of  African-Americans and Hispanics to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced  today. 

The EEOC's lawsuit (EEOC v. OfficeMax North America, Case  No. 8:12-cv-00643-EAK-MAP in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of  Florida) charged that OfficeMax violated federal law when its store manager retaliated  against a sales associate after the associate complained that he had been  terminated because he is Hispanic. The store manager was required to immediately  reinstate the sales associate, but then engaged in a series of retaliatory  actions designed to generate reasons to terminate him again and/or force the  sales associate to resign, the agency alleged.   The sales associate's charge of discrimination was investigated in the  EEOC's Tampa Field Office.

Such alleged conduct violates  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. 

In addition to the monetary  settlement, the four year consent decree contained injunctive relief: OfficeMax  agreed to target additional recruitment efforts in the Sarasota/Bradenton area to  reach more African American and Hispanic applicants, provide training for its  management and human resource personnel in three locations in the  Bradenton/Sarasota area on racial harassment and retaliation, and will report  future internal discrimination complaints to the EEOC. 

EEOC's Miami District Director Malcolm Medley said, "We  understand how difficult it may be for an employee to stand up  against his employer and voice concerns about discriminatory treatment.  The Commission is dedicated to protecting all  employees when they assert their rights."

"The anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII were created  to provide a safe haven for employees when they speak up against workplace  wrongs," said EEOC's Miami regional attorney, Robert E. Weisberg. "It is  important that the Commission support and empower employees to continue doing  so without fear of reprisal from their employers."

OfficeMax is a nationwide retailer of office and technology  products with more than 900 stores and approximately 29,000 sales associates in  the U.S. and Mexico.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination.  Further information  about the EEOC is available on the agency's website at