Agency Obtains Relief for Employee Protesting Age Discrimination
SAN FRANCISCO - Brandman University, a private educational institution with more than 25 campuses throughout California and Washington, has agreed to pay $38,000 and implement preventive measures to resolve a retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit filed in 2011, Fairfield campus Program Manager David Branham faced retaliation by being disciplined and given additional responsibilities in 2007 and 2008, after raising complaints that older workers experienced age discrimination. The EEOC further charged that Branham, age 64, was forced to retire as a result of the treatment.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination based on age and protects workers who report such discrimination from retaliation. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through conciliation, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division (EEOC v. Chapman University, Brandman University, and Does 1-5, Case No. CV-11-04845-LB).
Brandman University denied the allegations, but has agreed under a settlement entered into by the parties to pay monetary relief to Branham. In addition, the university will redistribute its anti-discrimination policies; provide annual live training on equal employment and anti-discrimination laws to all supervisory and non-supervisory employees at its Fairfield campus; provide online training on age discrimination and retaliation to managers and supervisors at Brandman's other campuses; and report complaints of age discrimination to the EEOC for two years.
"It is important for employers to have policies and practices in place to ensure that employees who protest discrimination are not subjected to retaliation," EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said.
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, "Retaliation charges continue to make up a significant part of the EEOC's workload. That shows that the EEOC still needs to continue litigation and outreach efforts to ensure employers understand that retaliation is illegal and only makes a bad situation worse."
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 agency's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.