ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced a federal judge has ordered Hobson
Bearing International Inc. to pay Tera Lopez $37,500. Additionally, the company
must drop its lawsuit against her.
This comes after the EEOC charged that Hobson had illegally
retaliated against Lopez after she filed a discrimination case against it with
the EEOC. Lopez alleged the company violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by
compensating female employees less than male employees for performing equal
work. After her complaint, Hobson allegedly sued her for “malicious
"Employees need to know that EEOC will swiftly
investigate and enforce the robust federal laws that provide strong protections
for those, like Ms. Lopez, who raise claims about discrimination and are
retaliated against," EEOC St. Louis district director James R. Neely,
Jr. said. "Hobson Bearing's action of bringing a lawsuit against Ms. Lopez was
an egregious attempt to undermine her rights."
The judge cited cases that hold it to be an employee's absolute
privilege to file a charge with the EEOC. Taking action against an employee for
filing a complaint with the EEOC violates federal law.
“Employers need to realize EEOC will vigorously challenge
such retaliation and intimidation," said Andrea G. Baran, EEOC's regional attorney in St.
Louis. "We are very pleased that Hobson Bearing
acknowledged, albeit belatedly, the prohibition against suing employees for
malicious prosecution when they invoke their absolute right to file a