ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced Philips Lighting of North
America will pay $56,000 after allegations of retaliating against a security
guard when it realized he was the grandson of a former employee who had filed a
discrimination lawsuit against the company.
“Retaliation is the most
frequently alleged basis of discrimination in complaints received by EEOC,”
said James R. Neely Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office. “Federal
law prohibits retaliation against family members as well as retaliation against
employees who challenge discrimination in the first place.”
According to the commission, security guard Jake Velasquez worked at a security company and was assigned to Philips’ plant in Salina, Kansas.
Allegedly, a human resources director noticed Velasquez was the grandson
of a man who had previously worked at the plant and sued Philips for
discrimination. The EEOC alleges, because of this, Philips had Velasquez
terminated. The company purportedly referenced the grandfather’s
lawsuit when forbidding Velasquez from returning to the plant.
“Workers have a right to challenge
employers' discriminatory practices without fear of retaliation against
themselves or their family,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's
regional attorney in St. Louis. “EEOC is committed to
protecting workers who report employment discrimination, as well as their