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PRESS RELEASE
8-21-15

Yuma-Area Health Center to Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

Regional Center for Border Health Fired Employee Because She Complained About Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charges

PHOENIX - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") today announced the settlement of a retaliation lawsuit against Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. ("Regional Center"), a Yuma-area health center.

EEOC charged in its lawsuit, EEOC v. Regional Center for Border Health, Inc., 2:15-cv-00436-BSB, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, that Mayra Casillas's supervisor, Regional Center's Women's Health Director, struck her on the buttocks on two different occasions in June 2011. Casillas made two reports of sexual harassment to human resources, stating that her supervisor's touching of Casillas's buttocks made her feel uncomfortable. On the same day Casillas made her second complaint to Regional Center, she was terminated. Regional Center stated in the letter of termination that (1) Casillas was fired because of her "incompatibility" with her supervisor and (2) Casillas was eligible for rehire. The EEOC argued that the alleged "incompat­ibility" was due to Casillas' complaint about the harassment and that Regional Center actually fired Casillas because of those complaints. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation. 

In addition to the settlement requiring Regional Center to pay $50,000 to Casillas, Regional Center also must take the following actions:

  • Ensure that its anti-discrimination policies conform to the law;
  • Distribute its anti-discrimination policies to all its employees;
  • Train all its employees on its anti-discrimination policies every year;
  • Post a notice in a prominent location that unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation will not be tolerated;
  • Expunge all references to termination from Casillas's personnel file;
  • Provide Casillas with a positive letter of reference;
  • Provide an apology to Casillas.

"The Phoenix District Office is committed to enforcing the laws against discrimination for employees in all corners of the district, including in the border region," said EEOC Phoenix regional attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "We will continue to send the message to all employers in every part of our district that they must not retaliate against individuals who exercise their rights under federal law."

EEOC District Director Rayford O. Irvin added, "Unfortunately, retaliation charges make up over 43 percent of our total private sector charges filed with the agency. This case makes clear that taking adverse action against employees who exercise their right to complain about harassment or discrimination at work will not be tolerated. Retaliation is one of our priority areas of focus."

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.