Recent EEOC News

On August 11, 2016, the Georgia Council for the Hearing-Impaired, Inc. (GACHI) finalized a $10,000 settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Mr. Stephen Patterson concerning the EEOC’s retaliation discrimination lawsuit against GACHI.[1]

A former training specialist to GACHI, Mr. Patterson filed an EEOC charge against GACHI on October 2012. Under the EEOC’s mediation program, an agreement was made between GACHI and Mr. Patterson where GACHI promised to provide Mr. Patterson with only neutral employment references. However, when Mr. Patterson’s prospective employers contacted GACHI for their reference towards Mr. Patterson, they heard negative references, allegedly causing the employers to reject Mr. Patterson as a prospective employee. [2]

The EEOC has reported that such alleged conduct violated the anti-retaliation provisions of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). After attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. [3]

The settlement includes monetary relief and other agreements, where GACHI promised to conduct equal employment opportunity training, to report to the EEOC and to notify its employees concerning its requirements to comply with all of the federal anti-discrimination laws.[4]

Although settlements do not prove guilt, it is important to notice that employers should be careful to comply with any agreements they may have with former employees. One wrong move, and it can cost a company more than just money–it can also cost its freedom and its reputation.

~Author: Yu Up Lee, Emory School of Law 3rd Year Law Student

[1] Id.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.