U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chair Manufacturer Fired Employees for Reporting Discrimination, Agency Charges
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Bertolini Corporation, a stackable chair manufacturer based in Chino, Calif., will pay $92,500 to settle a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged Bertolini Corporation in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., with unlawful retaliation against two employees.
According to the EEOC's suit, the company retaliated against two employees, a maintenance mechanic and a human resources assistant, by firing them because they complained about unlawful discrimination at the company.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-00066) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Besides the $92,500 in monetary relief, the one-year consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins the company from retaliating against any employee; requires it to provide in-person training regarding retaliation to its Tennessee employees and to maintain records of any complaints of retaliation. The company must also provide a report to the EEOC regarding any such complaints.
"Federal law provides that employees have a right to complain about practices they believe are unlawful without repercussions, and the EEOC will continue to act forcefully to protect this right," said Faye Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which serves Tennessee, Arkansas and portions of Mississippi.
According to company information, Bertolini Corporation manufactures stackable chairs in Tennessee and California.
Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.