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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Community Innovations, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

March 20, 2019

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMUNITY INNOVATIONS, INC., Defendant.

          EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff JAMES L. LEE Deputy General Counsel GWENDOLYN YOUNG REAMS Associate General Counsel

          LYNETTE A. BARNES Regional Attorney YLDA M. KOPKA Supervisory Trial Attorney, ZOE G. MAHOOD Senior Trial Attorney, ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF

          COMMUNITY INNOVATIONS, INC., Defendant, ROBERT W. SHAW Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, LLP, ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT.

          CONSENT DECREE

         The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "Commission") instituted this action pursuant to Section 706(f)(1) and (3) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3) ("Title VII") and Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a. The Commission's complaint alleged that in retaliation for Milton Elliott's ("Elliott") complaints about sexual harassment, Defendant Community Innovations, Inc. transferred Elliott, which resulted in a change of his schedule and reduced his work hours, and ultimately lead to Elliott's discharge, or in the alternative constructive discharge, from his employment with Defendant.

         The Commission and the Defendant, Community Innovations, Inc. (the "Defendant"), hereby stipulate to jurisdiction of the Court over the parties and agree that the subject matter of this action is properly before the Court.

         The parties have advised this Court that they desire to resolve the allegations in the Complaint without the burden, expense, and delay of further litigation.

         It is therefore the finding of this Court, made on the pleadings and the record as a whole, that: (1) the Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of this action; (2) the purpose and provisions of Title VII will be promoted and effectuated by the entry of the Consent Decree; and (3) this Consent Decree resolves all matters in controversy between the parties as provided in paragraphs 1 through 16 below.

         It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED as follows:

         1. Defendant shall not discriminate or retaliate against any person because of opposition to any practice made unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or because of the filing of a charge, the giving of testimony or assistance, or the participation in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under that statute.

         2. Defendant shall pay Milton Elliott the sum of Forty Thousand Dollars ($40, 000.00) in settlement of the claims raised in this action. Defendant shall make payment by issuing a check payable to Elliott. Payment shall be made within fifteen (15) days after the Court approves this Consent Decree, and Defendant shall mail the check to Elliott at an address provided by the Commission. Within ten (10) days after the check has been sent, Defendant shall send to the, Commission, a copy of the check and proof of its delivery to Elliott. Neither the Commission nor Defendant make any representation, or assume any responsibility for any tax liability, assessments, interest, penalties and/or costs that Elliott may or may not incur on such payments under local, state and/or federal law.

         3. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall eliminate from the employment records of Milton Elliott any and all documents, entries, or references of any kind relating to the facts and circumstances which led to the filing of EEOC Charge Number 433-2016-02944 and the related events that occurred thereafter, including this litigation. Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall change all references in its personnel records for Elliott from "terminated" to "voluntarily resigned." Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, Defendant shall report compliance with this provision to the Commission.

         4. Defendant shall provide Milton Elliott with a neutral letter of reference using the form attached hereto as Exhibit A. Within twenty (20) days of the entry of this Consent Decree by the Court, the original, signed letter of reference shall be provided to Elliott at an address provided by the Commission. Elliott is free to disseminate the letter to potential employers. If Defendant receives any inquiry about Elliott from a potential employer, it will provide only dates of employment and final position.

         5. Within ninety (90) days of the entry of this decree by the Court, Defendant shall adopt, implement, and post a formal, written anti-discrimination policy, which shall include but not be limited to the following: an explanation of the requirements of the federal equal employment opportunity laws, including Title VII and its prohibition against discrimination based on sex and retaliation; procedures for reporting discrimination; and a procedure for the thorough and immediate investigation of employee complaints of discrimination. Defendant shall distribute to each current employee a copy of the policy within the aforementioned 90 day time period. Within one hundred (100) days of the entry of this decree, Defendant shall report compliance to the Commission. During the term of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall distribute the policy to all new employees and review it with them at the time of hire.

         6. During the term of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall post a copy of the policy described in paragraph 5, supra, in all of their facilities in North Carolina in a place where it is visible to employees. If the policy becomes defaced or unreadable, Defendant shall replace it by posting another copy of the policy. Within one hundred (100) days after the Consent Decree is entered, Defendant will post the policy and notify the Commission that it has been posted.

         7. During the term of this Consent Decree, Defendant shall provide an annual training program to all of its managers, supervisors and employees. The training provided by Defendant may be web-based, at Defendant's election. Each training program shall include an explanation of the requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its prohibition against sex discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Each training program shall also include an explanation of Defendant's policy ...


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