Employee Was Fired for Exercising Statutory Right to Complain, Federal Agency Charges
MADISON, Wis. – Pine View Living, Inc. of Milwaukee, an assisted living facility, violated federal law by firing an employee for filing a job discrimination complaint against Pine View with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Wisconsin state Equal Rights Division, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to John Rowe, director of EEOC’s Chicago District, which includes Wisconsin, the agency’s investigation revealed that Rae L. Anderson was fired from her job as a resident assistant at Pine View’s community-based resident facility in Sun Prairie, a Madison suburb, after she filed a complaint on March 6, 2009, alleging that Pine View had discriminated against her on the basis of race and retaliation.
Retaliating against an employee for complaining about job discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for Anderson, an order barring future discrimination, and other relief. The suit, captioned EEOC v. Pine View Living, Inc. (Civil Action No. 11-cv-601, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison.
“Federal law protects the right of employees to complain when they believe they have been the victims of employment discrimination,” Rowe said. “Here, the EEOC contends that Ms. Anderson was doing what she had a right to do, but Pine View chose to punish her rather than to fix the underlying problem.”
EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson said, “Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision means what it says: Don’t retaliate. The EEOC vigorously prosecutes employers who try to prevent employees from exercising their statutory rights. We will not allow employees to be punished in violation of the law.”
The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.