ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a lawsuit Aug. 22 against Lincoln Cemetery Inc., an internment arrangement corporation in Atlanta, over allegations of firing an employee who participated in an EEOC case.
"This suit sends a message that employees should never be punished for speaking to government officials when they investigate discrimination claims," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC's Atlanta District Office.
According to EEOC, Peggy Knox was an administrative assistant for Lincoln Cemetery, and had been with the company since 1983. In July 2015, Knox participated in an interview with the EEOC during an agency case about complaints made by another employee. On Sept. 17, 2015, the owner and president of the company went to the EEOC Atlanta District Office for a conference about that same case. Almost immediately afterward, the owner allegedly fired Knox due to her cooperation with EEOC, the suit says.
"Trying to take revenge against employees for speaking to government investigators and engaging in protected activity is a clear violation of the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII and hinders an employee's ability to work in a discrimination-free environment as well as the government's ability to do its job,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office.
The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Knox, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination by Lincoln Cemetery.