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EEOC Sues Red Bird Machinery Repair for Retaliation

Company Fired Employee in Retaliation for Filing Complaint, Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO - An employment agency based in Eldorado, Ill., violated civil rights law by retaliating against an employee for filing a discrimination charge, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in Illinois today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Shaun Woody worked for Red Bird Machinery Repair, LLC from December 2016 to March 2017 as a miner/laborer. Red Bird Machinery Repair is an employment agency that places employees to work at mines in southern Illinois.

During his employment with Red Bird, Woody filed a discrimination charge against a previous employer. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Red Bird Machinery Repair fired Woody in retaliation for his filing that charge.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against or terminate an employee because he has made a discrimination charge. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Red Bird Machinery Repair, LLC., Civil Action No.3:18-cv-01769) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

"An employer is only asking for more trouble when it punishes someone for complaining about discrimination," said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC's Chicago District. "Retaliation cases remain a concern for the EEOC and we will continue to fight against this unlawful conduct."

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District, said, "People have an absolute right under federal law to complain about discrimination or file a charge without fearing reprisal. The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce the anti-retaliation provisions in employment discrimination laws."

The EEOC's legal team in its Minneapolis Area Office will conduct the litigation under the management of the agency's Chicago District Office. That office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.  

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.