EEOC targets educational technology company, alleges retaliation against employee

By Mark Iandolo | Jun 2, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit May 24 against educational technology company IXL Learning Inc., alleging retaliation against an employee for accusing the company of discriminatory practices on Glassdoor.com.

"Retaliation is the No. 1 basis for charges filed with the EEOC, comprising more than 45 percent filings nation­wide," said William Tamayo, the EEOC's San Francisco District Office director. "Under the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan, it is a priority to defend employees' rights to speak out and challenge practices that they believe to be illegal discrimination."

According to allegations, employee Adrian Scott Duane wrote a negative review about the company on Glassdoor.com. Duane, a transgender man, believed the company had been discriminating against him. Upon learning of the negative review, IXL Learning allegedly fired Duane.

"While the platforms for employees to speak out against discrimination are evolving with technology, the laws against retaliation remain constant, said EEOC trial attorney Ami Sanghvi. “If an employee reasonably believes that illegal discrimination occurred, the EEOC will vigorously defend that worker's right to raise the issue, whether they do so by filing a charge with our agency, notifying company management or posting in a public arena such as Glassdoor.com."

EEOC seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief for preventing the alleged discrimination in the future.

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