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EEOC Settles Lawsuit Alleging Employee Was Fired In Retaliation For Race Discrimination Complaint

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In a press release issued on May 16, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Master Marine, Inc. (Master Marine). On August 27, 2018, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Master Marine, Inc., Case No. 1:18-cv-371, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. 

The EEOC brought the retaliation case pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of Master Marine, Elskin Nye (Nye). Title VII protects employees from retaliation when they complain about perceived discrimination in the workplace. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. In this article, our Marion County, Florida retaliation lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Master Marine and the Consent Decree. 

EEOC’S Allegations Of Unlawful Retaliation

Nye was initially assigned by a temporary staffing agency to work for Master Marine. In July 2014, Nye filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging that Master Marine unlawfully ended his work assignment because of his race, age, and disability. In September 2015, the EEOC dismissed Nye’s charge of discrimination. On June 22, 2016, Nye was assigned by another temporary staffing agency to work for Master Marine as a painter/blaster. Nye worked for fourteen days, until July 6, 2016, when he was notified by his Foreman that his services were no longer needed and that he was being laid off.

The Foreman, who was no longer employed by Master Marine when the lawsuit was filed, alleged that he heard management mention Nye’s name during a meeting, stating that Nye had “sued the company” and “cost the company a lot of money.” Once the meeting was over, the Foremen was instructed by his supervisor to “get rid” of Nye because “he cost us a lot of money.” The Forman’s supervisor further instructed him not to let Nye “make it through the day.” In compliance with his supervisor’s instructions, the Foreman told Nye that he was being laid off because he was no longer needed. At least six other painters/blasters, who were working for Master Marine through the same temporary employment agency, were not terminated when Nye was terminated. Unlike Nye, none of these individuals had filed a charge of discrimination against Master Marine with the EEOC.

Consent Decree Settles Retaliation Lawsuit

In the Consent Decree settling the retaliation lawsuit, which was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade on May 15, 2019, Master Marine agreed to pay Nye $30,000 to resolve the retaliation case. In the Consent Decree, Master Marine also agreed not to subject any employee to retaliation for complaining about discrimination in the workplace. Master Marine further agreed to provide training for all employees on the anti-retaliation laws enforced by the EEOC. The EEOC also required Master Marine to develop and provide all employees with an anti-retaliation policy covering the laws enforced by the EEOC, including a statement in the policy that Master Marine is committed to preventing and correcting retaliation in the workplace.

Employees Protects Employees From Retaliation

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of employment discrimination and retaliation. In a press release issued by the EEOC regarding the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, Bradley Anderson, stated that “[r]etaliation remains the most common violation alleged in EEOC charges.” “Employees must feel free to file EEOC charges,” Mr. Anderson added, “without fear of retaliation.”

Free Consultation With Ocala Retaliation Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we have represented employment discrimination and retaliation victims in hundreds of cases before the EEOC. If you have been retaliated against for complaining about discrimination at work or have questions about the anti-retaliation laws enforced by the EEOC, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Marion County, Florida retaliation attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take retaliation cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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