U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Agency Said Local Union Discriminated Against Workers Because They Protested Discrimination at Workplace
BALTIMORE – The Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA) union will pay $80,000 to settle a retaliation discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that MCEA fired employee Gail Tate-Buntin in 2007 for her perceived involvement in an EEOC investigation of her employer’s alleged unlawful employment practices, her opposition to practices she believed to be discriminatory, and her association with Michele Handy, another MCEA employee who had filed a discrimination charge. The EEOC also charged that MCEA denied a promotion to Handy and subjected her to discriminatory terms and conditions of employment because she filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC against MCEA.
Retaliation against an employee for protesting employment discrimination or participating in a discrimination charge investigation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. WDQ-10-CV-00762 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.
In addition to the monetary payment to Tate-Buntin and Handy, the EEOC’s settlement requires MCEA to provide significant remedial relief during the two-year consent decree. MCEA will:
“Title VII depends for its enforcement upon the cooperation of employees who are willing to oppose or report employment discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “This settlement achieves the EEOC’s objectives by providing relief to the victims while implementing measures to prevent future retaliation.”
The most frequently filed charges with the EEOC in FY 2009 were charges of discrimination based on race (36 percent), retaliation (36 percent) and sex-based discrimination (30 percent).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site www.eeoc.gov.