Gas Mart Sued by EEOC For Retaliating Against Manager; Government Seeks Punitive Damages

An Indiana-based petroleum company got coal in its stocking this Christmas from the EEOC, which said it has sued the company for retaliating against a manager after he filed a charge against it.

The commission is charging Bright Petroleum–which operates the Bright Market  food market and gas station in Lawrenceburg, Indiana–with violating Title VII’s retaliation ban by subjecting the manager to additional scrutiny after learning of his charge and his refusal to drop it. For that, he was disciplined and terminated, the commission alleged.

The commission says that in all this the company was “recklessly indifferent” to the manager’s rights. That’s Title VII’s standard for an award of punitive damages, which the EEOC is seeking against the company.

The EEOC and the courts come down hard on companies that retaliate because of the chilling effect it can have in punishing the complaining employee. And if the EEOC lets the employer get away with it one time, other employees might think twice about filing complaints when they believe there’s discrimination.

Here’s more about the lawsuit, and here’s more on retaliation from the EEOC’s website.

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