U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Former Employee to Receive Maximum Amount Allowed Based on Size of Employer
DENVER – Three companies which are part of the “Dealin’ Doug” Moreland Automotive Group have agreed to pay $50,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit that charged the companies with firing a former employee in retaliation for her participation in a prior EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit.
According to the EEOC lawsuit, Lucille Fancher, a ten-year employee, complained to management about a sexually hostile work environment and therefore was a participant entitled to a portion of the settlement in the prior lawsuit. The EEOC claimed that when settlement was imminent, Fancher was called into a meeting with the general manager and told that if she received money as part of a settlement of the lawsuit, she would no longer have a job. The EEOC charged that on June 3, 2008, the same day that settlement documents were due in federal court, Fancher was terminated, while another employee who did not accept her share of the settlement was not fired.
Retaliation for participating in an EEOC lawsuit violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Moreland Auto Group, LLLP, Kids’ Financial, Inc., d/b/a C.A.R. Finance, Kids’ Automotive, Inc., and Brandon Financial, Inc., Civil Action No. 11-cv-01512-RBJ-MJW) in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The $50,000 payment is the maximum amount that may be awarded against employers with fewer than 101 employees. In addition to the monetary settlement, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires the companies post notice of the decree in the workplace, provide live employee training on anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC.
“If companies are allowed to retaliate against employees just because they report harassment or offer testimony, or participate in the settlement of an employment discrimination claim, then we cannot expect people to speak out against injustice,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, whose office’s jurisdiction includes Colorado. “If people can’t speak out, then discrimination remains unchecked.”
EEOC Denver Field Office Director Nancy Sienko added, “We hope this settlement will serve as an example to all employers that this agency takes retaliation seriously and will vigorously protect people’s rights to challenge discrimination.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and retaliation. The Denver Field Office is part of the Phoenix District, which covers Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and parts of New Mexico. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.