BALTIMORE - Erickson Living Management, LLC, a Catonsville, Md.-based company which builds and manages retirement communities in 11 states, will pay $151,000 in monetary relief and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a federal retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Erickson Living's director of health services, talent development and global programs complained to a human resources representative that she believed the company had mistreated a subordinate employee because of manifestations of the employee's disabilities. She also said she feared she would be retaliated against for reporting what she believed was a discriminatory abuse of the company's performance management system. Erickson Living terminated the director and her subordinate employee as part of a purported company restructuring, but the EEOC charged that retaliation was the real reason for the director's termination.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for opposing workplace discrimination or because they filed a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Erickson Living Management, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00585-CCB) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $151,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to the director, the two-year consent decree resolving the case enjoins Erickson Living from engaging in retaliation. Erickson Living will provide training on the ADA, post an anti-discrimination notice, and report to the EEOC on how it handles any future complaints or reports of disability discrimination.
"We appreciate Erickson Living working with us to resolve this matter amicably," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "In addition to the just compensation to the director for her losses, this resolution is designed to protect other employees from discrimination or retaliation."
EEOC Baltimore Field Office Director Rosemarie Rhodes added, "The anti-retaliation provisions, which are vital to the Commission's ability to enforce our laws, also protect witnesses who oppose perceived discrimination suffered by another employee. We applaud the courage of this director who spoke out against perceived mistreatment of her employee."
The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC's Baltimore Field Office, one of four component offices of the agency's Philadelphia District Office. The Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.