Aeon Global Health Sued by EEOC for Sex and Race Harassment and Retaliation

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Gainesville Client Services Employee Subjected to Daily Abuse and Then Fired for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges

ATLANTA – Peachstate Health Management, LLC, doing business as AEON Global Health, a Georgia certified reference clinical laboratory in Gainesville, Ga., violated federal law by subjecting an African American female client services employee to a race- and sex-based hostile work environment and firing her for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a supervisor subjected one of its Black female client services employees to daily verbal harassment based on her race and sex. The harassment victim reported the abuse to the company on a weekly basis for more than two months, the EEOC said. The employee’s reports of harassment culminated in a meeting with upper-level executives where the employee’s reports of sex- and race-based harassment were raised. During this meeting, Aeon Global Health subjected the employee to additional sex-based verbal harassment and fired her, the EEOC said.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial and sexual harassment in the workplace and prohibits employers from firing, demoting, harassing or other-wise retaliating against employees because of complaints of discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 2:21-cv-00092-RWS-JCF) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory, and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

“When the company learned of the harassment, it failed in its obligation to protect its employee or take any steps to correct the misconduct,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Instead of encouraging its employee bring forward reports of racial and sex-based harassment in the workplace, the company made a bad situation worse when it subjected her to additional harassment and fired her. The EEOC is here to aid victims of these kinds of workplace abuses.”

Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “The company did not protect its employee from harassment, as is required by law. We will continue to enforce the federally protected rights of employees to speak out against harassment in the workplace without fear of retaliation.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

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