College Settles Retaliation Lawsuit for $20,000

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Arkansas Baptist College (ABC), a historically black college in Little Rock, will pay $20,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for retaliation, the agency announced.

The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 4-10-CV-1072 BSM) charged that ABC violated federal law by prematurely canceling an employee’s consulting contract and then refusing to allow her to teach classes because she had previously filed a discrimination charge alleging discriminatory demotion. Mary Jarrett had previously filed a charge of discrimination in November of 2008 based on age, sex, disability, and equal pay.

Retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree, approved by U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller, provides that ABC shall not engage in further reprisal or retaliation of any kind against any person because he or she opposed any practice made unlawful under Title VII or the ADEA; filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC; or testified or participated in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII or the ADEA. ABC will also create a policy prohibiting retaliation; provide anti-retaliation training to all personnel; submit two reports to the EEOC describing the training and any complaints of retaliation; and post a notice reinforcing the company’s anti-discrimination policies.

“It is plainly illegal to fire an employee for engaging in her statutorily protected right of filing a charge with the EEOC, and we are pleased that the parties were able to resolve this matter,” said Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and certain counties in Mississippi. “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to aggressively pursue remedies for people who are the victims of retaliation.”

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