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Press Release 11-10-2011

Mobile Community Action To Pay $65,000 To Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit

Male Employee Fired After Alleging He Was Sexually Harassed by Female Supervisor, Federal Agency Charges

MOBILE,  Ala. – Mobile Community Action,  Inc. has agreed to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the private  domestic non-profit corporation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of  1964 by firing Donte Bumpers after he opposed sexually discriminatory  practices.

According to the suit filed by the  EEOC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (Civil Action  No.1:10-CV-00403), Bumpers was exposed to numerous instances of unwelcome and  offensive sexual remarks and sexual touching by a female supervisor. His resistance to the misconduct influenced  the supervisor to retaliate by requiring him to perform demeaning personal  tasks unassociated with his job responsibilities. When he complained about the behavior, he was  discharged, the EEOC said.

Sexual harassment and retaliation  for complaining about it violate 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 settlement terms, set forth in  the consent decree, require Mobile Community Action to pay $65,000 in compensatory  damages to Bumpers plus reasonable attorneys fees. The decree also contains non-monetary  provisions to ensure that the supervisors and managers are properly trained to  fully comply with employment discrimination laws. The terms of the decree further require Mobile  Community Action to establish workable procedures employees can take to report  sexual misconduct. Further, it requires  posting a notice for employees, reinforcing the company's policies on Title  VII, in addition to establishing guidelines for investigating discrimination  complaints.

"This settlement further  illustrates the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace is not  gender-specific," said EEOC District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas. "All employees should be allowed to perform  their jobs without being subjected to abuse or to retaliation for reporting it."

C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney  for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, said, "This settlement achieves the  EEOC's objectives by providing appropriate relief to the victim while  implementing measures to prevent this kind of misconduct in the future."

Mobile Community Action, Inc. is a  private domestic non-profit corporation incorporated in 1966, with the  assistance of grants from the Alabama Department of Economic Assistance (ADECA)  and the Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Head Start),  operates a Head Start program and provides other community services (e.g.,  Weatherization, Utility Assistance, GED preparation classes) to qualifying  families in the Mobile area. It employed  352 people at the time the discrimination charge was filed.

The EEOC is responsible for  enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC's Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi  (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at