Last week a federal judge in Hawaii imposed peculiar sanctions against the EEOC for the Commission’s unethical conduct in a class action. In EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc. et al., No. 1:11-cv-00257-LEK-RLP (D. HI. filed August 20, 2014) the EEOC reached a consent agreement in a class action. The court ordered the parties to submit their proposed consent decree to the court by email, as required by the court’s local rules, rather than file the proposed decree for public consumption. The EEOC called the court’s staff and asked if the Commission could officially file the proposed consent decree rather than email it to the court because the EEOC had scheduled a press conference to announce the consent agreement and decree. The court’s staff instructed the EEOC not to officially file the proposed decree, but instead to follow the rules and email it to the court. This is important because the court had the final say on whether the decree would be entered as proposed, so nothing would be final with respect to the decree until the judge said so. You guessed it—the EEOC ignored the court’s instructions, filed the proposed decree for all the world to see, and promptly held a press conference to boorishly brag about its settlement. The judge promptly ordered the EEOC’s attorneys to appear in court and explain their behavior. After hearing the EEOC’s lame excuses, the court entered a sanctions order in which it refused to approve the proposed consent decree until the EEOC held another press conference and issued another press release retracting what they said in the previous press conference and release. The court also stated that it would file ethics complaints against both responsible EEOC attorneys with their state bar association. The EEOC has set the court-ordered press conference for today at 3:00 p.m. Hawaii time.
The hearing, itself, contained some extraordinary quotable quotes from the judge (Click to read the transcript). Stating that she was flabbergasted by the EEOC’s conduct, the judge described the EEOC’s misconduct as “outrageous,” “arrogant,” and “unethical.” Typical of what we see any time we try to settle a case with the EEOC, the court observed that the EEOC was “blinded and single-minded in wanting to have a press conference before something becomes finalized….” And we end with this nugget of pure gold from the court: “Clearly, the Commission doesn’t care what is going to happen with regard to proceeding in the courts. They have their own agenda and they have their own kangaroo court, and that’s why they have the press conference before the consent decree is approved.” Their own agenda. Kangaroo court. Great stuff! This is the third EEOC benchslap we have reported this week (Another Approaching Benchslap for EEOC and EEOC Benchslaps Just Keep Coming). When will this Administration reel this runaway agency in?