BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced April 10 that ABL Management, a food management company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will pay $35,000 after allegations of retaliatory discrimination.

According to the EEOC, Duane Gatson was employed by the company as a kitchen supervisor at the Bay County Correctional Facility in Panama City, Florida. Gatson was allegedly working in an isolated food storage area when a male kitchen manager approached and groped him. 

Gatson purportedly reported the conduct to his immediate supervisor and he received information that the company would look into the matter. However, Gatson was fired a few weeks later for complaining, the EEOC said.

"When an employer fires an employee for complaining about sexual harassment, it sends the signal that it's not safe to resist discrim­ination," EEOC Birmingham district director Delner Franklin-Thomas said. "Employers should be aware that the law protects employees who report this kind of misconduct and that the EEOC will enforce laws that protect workers' rights."

A three-year consent decree settling the case mandates that ABL must take steps to prevent future discrimination, such as implementing anti-discrimination policies and practices.

“The EEOC is committed to vigorous enforce­ment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits retaliation against employees who report discrimination,” EEOC regional attorney Marsha Rucker said.

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