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Worker Unlawfully Fired After Complaining About Refusal To Hire African-Americans EEOC Lawsuit Charges

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Having represented retaliation victims for more than two decades, our Leesburg, Florida retaliatory discharge attorneys have learned that a common employment law myth is that employees are not protected from retaliation by the federal discrimination laws when they complain about an employer’s discriminatory employment practices against other employees or job applicants. In other words, many employees mistakenly believe that they are only protected from retaliation by the federal discrimination laws when they complain about discrimination against them in the workplace. Because of this employment law myth, our Lake County, Florida retaliatory discharge lawyers know that many retaliation victims are unaware that they have been unlawfully retaliated against in violation of the federal discrimination laws.

The anti-retaliation provisions of the federal discrimination laws make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for opposing any practice made unlawful under the federal discrimination laws. Under the broad scope of protection afforded to employees by the anti-retaliation provisions of the federal discrimination laws, employees are protected from retaliation when they lodge complaints about an employer’s discriminatory employment practices, including discrimination towards other employees or job applicants. In this article, our Leesburg, Florida retaliatory discharge attorneys explain how a recent retaliatory discharge lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrates the broad protection afforded to employees who lodge complaints about an employer’s discriminatory employment practices.

EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

In a press release issued on April 12, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree settling a retaliatory discharge lawsuit against Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc. (CCH). On February 26, 2019, the EEOC filed the retaliatory discharge lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc.,Case No. 1:19-cv-00425, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.  In the Consent Decree, which was executed by the U.S. District Court Judge on April 12, 2021, CCH agreed to pay $175,000 to resolve the retaliatory discharge lawsuit.

Legal Rights Of Retaliation Victims

The EEOC brought the retaliatory discharge lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of CCH, Robert DeFrancesco (DeFrancesco). Under Title VII, discrimination against job applicants and employees on the basis of race is an unlawful discriminatory employment practice. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who voice their concerns about perceived racially discriminatory employment practices. The EEOC claims that CCH violated Title VII by firing DeFrancesco in retaliation for complaining about racially discriminatory employment practices.

Alleged Refusal to Hire African-Americans

DeFrancesco worked at CCH’s facility in Summerdale, Alabama. During DeFrancesco’s employment, according to the EEOC, CCH’s owner engaged in racially discriminatory employment practices by refusing to hire qualified African-American job applicants. In support of its contention, the EEOC alleges that the owner frequently made racially discriminatory comments about never hiring African-American job applicants, including instructing employees to write the race of African-American job applicants on their job applications, remarking about how African-Americans “will never work for this company,” and stating that he would never hire an African-American. The EEOC further claims that the owner refused to interview qualified African-American job candidates. For example, when an employee informed the owner that an applicant was African-American, the owner replied, “You might as well throw that [application] away.” On another occasion, when an African-American woman applied for a job, the owner told an employee that “she won’t be getting a job here; you saw what color she is.”

Worker Claims Retaliatory Discharge

When DeFrancesco confronted the owner about his refusal to hire African-Americans and use of racial slurs, the EEOC claims that the owner immediately terminated him because he opposed that conduct. DeFrancesco criticized the owner for using racial epithets and refusing to hire qualified African-American job candidates. The owner, according to the EEOC, told DeFrancesco that he could speak to his employees however he wanted, told DeFrancesco that he was “done,” and instructed him to take off his uniform.

Attorneys For Retaliation Victims

The EEOC, which is an administrative agency of the federal government, is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the federal labor laws making discrimination, harassment, and retaliation unlawful employment practices. As part of its statutory mission of protecting and vindicating employee rights, the EEOC brings lawsuits on behalf of employees who have been subjected to unlawful discriminatory employment practices, including retaliatory discharge.

In a press release issued by the EEOC on April 12, 2021 regarding the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, Bradley Anderson, explained that “employees have the right to work in an environment where they are judged on their ability and not based upon irrelevant characteristics like sex, race, or the race of family members.” “Federal law also prohibits an employer,” Mr. Anderson added, “from refusing to hire qualified applicants based on race and punishing an employee who complains about it.” In commenting on the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, Marsha Rucker, stated that “Climatemp created a work environment where . . . African-Americans did not get hired, and employees were subjected to termination for complaining about discrimination or harassment.” “The EEOC remains committed,” Ms. Rucker added, “to combating this type of harassment and discrimination through vigorous enforcement efforts.”

Leesburg, FL Retaliatory Discharge Attorneys

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Lake County, Florida retaliatory discharge lawyers have dedicated their practice to representing victims of unlawful discriminatory employment practices, including retaliatory discharge victims. If you have been fired in retaliation for complaining about discrimination in the workplace or have questions about your protection under the federal employment laws against retaliatory discharge, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Leesburg, Florida retaliatory discharge attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take retaliatory discharge 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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