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 family members.”

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