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EEOC complaint leads to retaliation from new, old employers

An executive secretary thought that her new job would put an end to the sex discrimination she was experiencing at her previous job. However, after filing an EEOC complaint to have the prior discrimination investigated, the woman was unexpectedly terminated from her new job.

An examination of the events showed that her old employer likely forwarded information about the complaint to her new employer in retaliation. When her new employer discovered this, they also retaliated and wrongfully terminated the woman, blaming it on a reduction-in-force.

The EEOC recently negotiated an agreement with both employers, requiring financial compensation for lost wages as well as other remedial measures.

Like many other retaliation cases, this settlement included provisions to prevent the companies from similar conduct in the future. In each consent decree, the companies agreed to revise their internal policies and address the issues of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation through improved training programs.

An EEOC spokesperson commented on the case, saying that it's important to remember that the EEOC acts in the interest of the individual as well as the public at large, which is why they emphasize nonmonetary provisions for better training and prevention methods in settlement agreements.

Sex discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Employers are also prohibited from firing someone who makes a complaint about any type of discrimination or other misconduct. More information about the different actions that an employee can take if they believe they are a victim of sex discrimination or retaliation is available on our Pittsburgh employment law website.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Vitol and Johnson Controls to Pay $62,500 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit for Retaliation ," Sept. 4, 2012

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