What Can Happen if You Ignore a Discrimination Claim?
No one likes dealing with a dispute, and we often wish disputes would just go away. However, ignoring a discrimination claim can land employers into trouble and result in undesired legal consequences.
This is what occurred in a Florida discrimination case brought against a Clearwater adult entertainment club called Bliss Cabaret. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the club and its successor corporation Executive Gentleman’s Club for firing African American Quatavia Harden who was employed as a bartender based on her race. The manager, Patrick Franke who hired Harden objected and refused to participate in the discrimination, and consequently, he was terminated. Later in the lawsuit, the EEOC added the parent company Southeast Showclubs, LLC as a party to the lawsuit. Race discrimination and retaliation are violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Because the defendants ignored the EEOC’s allegations and failed to respond, the Court ruled the defendants were guilty of discriminatory conduct and awarded $365,000 in relief to the EEOC, which included punitive damages, back pay, interest, compensatory damages and tax penalty offsets for Franke and Harden. The Court also granted injunctive relief that demanded the companies cease their discriminatory practices, that they incorporate non-retaliation and non-discrimination policies and report applicant flow and hiring data to the EEOC for compliance monitoring.
The best legal defense is preventative and helps you put measures in place so you do not become involved in discrimination issues. Unfortunately, companies often do not realize the importance of legal guidance until they face a lawsuit. At the first sign of a discrimination dispute, it is wise to seek legal counsel. Stephen Hans & Associates puts decades of legal experience to work on your behalf and works diligently to protect your rights as an employer.