EEOC Sues Kone for Retaliation and Breach of Mediation Agreement

Elevator Manufacturer Refused to Rehire Applicant in Retaliation for a Previous Discrimination Complaint, Federal Agency Charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Kone, Inc., a manufacturer and servicer of elevators and escalators, breached a mediation settlement agreement and violated federal law by retaliating against an employee because she had made a discrimination charge, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 29, 2014.

According to the EEOC's suit (Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-02674 filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division), Kone entered into a mediation settlement agreement with the EEOC and the employee on May 7, 2009, resolving an employment discrimination charge.  Among other relief provided to the employee, the agreement required Kone to recode the employee's personnel file to make her eligible for rehire.  Despite the agreement, however, Kone listed the employee as ineligible for rehire in the company's personnel system, which resulted in Kone refusing to rehire her.  The EEOC contends that Kone's actions constitute retaliation and breach of the mediation agreement.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees against retaliation for filing an EEOC charge or complaining about discriminatory practices.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC's suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory damages, and an injunction against future discrimination.

"Federal law requires that all employees have a right to complain about practices they reasonably believe are unlawful without repercussions," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi.  "The EEOC will continue to protect people from retaliation and uphold the integrity of its mediation agreements."

According to company information, Kone is a Delaware corporation with its corporate headquarters in Moline, Ill.  Kone manufactures, sells, installs, services and repairs elevators and escalators throughout the United States and internationally.  Kone has more than 30,000 employees.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


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.

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