Employer Settles Retaliation Suit Alleging It Wouldn’t Rehire Harassment Complainers

Here’s a timely reminder: It’s against the law to retaliate against employees for complaining about discrimination even if you weren’t the employer that did the discriminating.

A school meals provider in Phoenix learned that lesson as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday it had settled a Title VII retaliation suit against the company.

According the lawsuit, Better 4 You Breakfast violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by retaliating against five Phoenix employees who had opposed unlawful sexual harassment and participated in an EEOC investigation of that harassment.

Better 4 You Breakfast had no role in the harass­ment against these employees; however, the EEOC charged that the company refused to rehire the five emp­loyees because they had engaged in the protected activity.

So for $62,500, the provider puts this lawsuit behind it.

“Retaliation for participating in protected activity in the workplace cannot be allowed,” said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “In this case, these employees were not allowed to return to work because they asserted their right to oppose harassment in the workplace. We are pleased that Better 4 You worked cooperatively with us to resolve the claims against them and to evaluate its policies and training on retaliation.

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