EEOC Sues Cordia Senior Living for Retaliation

Federal  Agency Says Westmont Senior Residence Fired Employee for Complaining About  Sexual Hostile Work Environment

CHICAGO - A Westmont, Ill., senior living center violated  federal law by retaliating against an employee for complaining about sexual  harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in  a lawsuit it filed yesterday. 

According to John P. Rowe, the EEOC's Chicago District director  who supervised the agency's pre-suit investigation, the investigation revealed  that line cook Peter Masnyk complained repeatedly to management about sexual  harassment in the workplace.  The company  later fired Masnyk as retaliation for his complaints, Rowe said. 

"Cordia said it had other reasons for terminating the  charging party, but the facts suggested to us that he would not have been fired but for his complaining about the harassment," Rowe said. 

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Cordia Senior Living, N.D.  Illinois No. 13-cv-6480) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of  Illinois, Eastern Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.    The case was assigned to Judge Marvin E. Aspen.  The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and  punitive damages, and an injunction prohibiting retaliation.

John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago,  said, "Too often management's first line of defense to complaints of sexual  harassment is to get rid of the person doing the complaining and hope the  complaints can't be sustained.  But smart  managers know that those who complain don't have to be right.  They just have to have a reasonable good faith  belief that discrimination is going on.  If  the complainer does have that belief, then firing them is retaliation.  That's unlawful, and the EEOC will combat  it."

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for  processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct  of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and  South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against  employment discrimination.  Further  information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

 

Topics:  Discrimination, EEOC, Harassment, Hostile Environment, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Termination

Published In: Civil Remedies Updates, Civil Rights Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »