Press Release 02-24-2010

EEOC Asks Court to Enforce Subpoena Served on San Antonio Law Firm in Sex Harassment Case

Malaise Firm Refuses to Provide Information Relevant to Investigation of Employee's Charge of Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation, Federal Agency Says

SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a subpoena enforcement action against a prominent local law firm to enforce an EEOC subpoena in a sexual harassment case against the firm, the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's subpoena enforcement suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (Civil Action No. SA10MC0160OG), the Malaise Law Firm, P.C., refused to provide information and/or documents responsive to an EEOC investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation there, forcing the EEOC to subpoena the requested information.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorizes the EEOC to investigate allegations of employment discrimination, and one of the EEOC's primary investigative tools is its statutory right to access and copy evidence that relates to alleged unlawful employment practices.

"A charge of discrimination serves as a jurisdictional springboard which enables the EEOC to investigate whether an employer has engaged in any discriminatory practices, and several courts have stated that employers cannot be allowed to pick and choose the evidence it will provide to the EEOC," said Judith G. Taylor, supervisory trial attorney of the EEOC's San Antonio Field Office.

"Rather than cooperate with the EEOC's investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation as charged by its former employee, Malaise has refused to provide relevant information which could cast light, either positive or negative, on these allegations," Taylor added. "This action serves to remind employers that the EEOC will seek judicial intervention to enforce administrative subpoenas in conjunction with investigations of employment discrimination."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at