Credit Union Fired a Black Branch Manager Because She Opposed Use of a Racially Offensive Video During a Training Session, Federal Agency Charged
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana credit union has agreed to pay a former branch manager $110,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC's suit charged that Lafayette, La.-based Lafayette Schools Federal Credit Union, now known as Meritus Credit Union, fired Connie Fields-Meaux because she opposed - and assisted another employee in opposing - its use of a racially offensive video during a training session. Fields-Meaux ran the credit union's branch in Crowley, La. The suit alleged that the credit union used the video, which depicted a caricature of a black fast food worker, as an example of "how not to provide customer service." Fields-Meaux, who is African-American, left the session because she found the video offensive, and she later reported that another employee, who is also black, had told her that he found the video offensive, as well. Within days, the credit union fired her without warning or explanation.
Such alleged conduct violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful for an employer to fire - or otherwise retaliate against - an employee because the employee implicitly or explicitly opposed conduct that he or she reasonably believed was unlawful. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 18-6673) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana earlier this year. Under the three-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk, the credit union will pay Fields-Meaux $110,000 in monetary relief and provide a variety of other, non-monetary relief. For instance, the credit union will provide regular training to its employees on retaliation.
"I'm pleased that we were able to amicably resolve this action with fair and equitable relief," said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's Houston District Office. "It is of paramount importance that those who raise concerns about race-based discrimination receive the protections to which they are entitled under the law."
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.