$120,000 Settlement in Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sterling and Sterling, Inc., an insurance company on Long Island, New York, will pay $120,000 to settle a lawsuit for retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Sterling fired Rochelle Legette from her position as a sales telemarketer after she filled out an EEOC questionnaire stemming from her complaints of race and sex harassment.  Legette, who had been hired in March 2007, filled out the questionnaire in September 2009.  Legette was on maternity leave at that time and returned to work on Feb. 1, 2010.  Sterling, citing her EEOC filing, suspended her two weeks later, and fired her on March 1, 2010.

Retaliation against an employee for taking action against perceived discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in September 2011 with U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (No. CV-11-4786) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief, includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting, and posting of anti-discrimination notices.

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