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PRESS RELEASE
7-13-18

EEOC Sues Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union for Retaliation

Credit Union Fired a Branch Manager the Day After  She Opposed Its Use of a Racially Offensive Video During a Training  Session, Agency Says

  NEW ORLEANS - Lafayette Schools'  Federal Credit Union unlawfully fired its only African-American branch manager  because she opposed - and assisted another black employee in opposing - its use  of a racially offensive video during a training session, the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed here today.

Lafayette Schools' Federal Credit  Union, which recently changed its name to Meritus Credit Union, is based in  Lafayette, La. The branch manager, Connie Fields-Meaux, ran its branch in  Crowley, La., for about three years. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, during a  training session, Lafayette Schools' Federal Credit Union used a video  depicting a caricature of an African-American fast food worker as an example of  "how not to provide customer service." According to the suit, Fields-Meaux was  so upset by the video that she momentarily excused herself from the session and  that other black employees told Fields-Meaux that they, too, were upset by the  video. The EEOC said that Fields-Meaux reported the concerns of one of the  African-American employees the next day, and the day after that, Lafayette  Schools' Federal Credit Union fired her, without warning or explanation.

Such alleged conduct violates Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-06673)  in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.

The EEOC, which has authority to  bring the suit on behalf of the public, has asked the court to permanently  enjoin Lafayette Schools' Federal Credit Union from engaging in future  retaliation. It has also asked the court to order it to pay Fields-Meaux both  punitive and compensatory damages as well as back pay.

"Employers must respond to - and  certainly not fire - employees who raise concerns about racially offensive  materials," said Keith Hill, director for the EEOC's New Orleans Field Office.

Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for  the Houston District Office, cautioned, "Retaliating against employees for  reporting racially offensive workplace conduct is a serious violation of  federal law that the EEOC will prosecute."

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.