Federal Agency Sues Company For Failing to Pay All Money Agreed to in Settlement
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte, N.C.-based operator of janitorial services violated federal law when it failed to abide by the terms of a voluntary mediation settlement agreement it entered into with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, on October 20, 2009, Access Services, Inc. entered into a settlement agreement with the EEOC and Luis Rodriguez, a former employee, to settle a charge of employment discrimination filed by Rodriguez. As part of that agreement, the company agreed to pay $6,000 in a monetary relief to Rodriguez. The company has failed to make full payment, despite the fact the EEOC modified the payment terms twice at the company’s request.
After first attempting to resolve the matter informally, the EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Access Services, Inc., 3:11-cv-00334), in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division. The agency seeks payment of the outstanding balance and appropriate injunctive relief.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution or ADR that is offered by the EEOC as an alternative to the agency’s traditional investigative process. The mediation process allows the individual who filed a charge - called a “charging party" - and the company against whom the charge was filed, to meet and try to work out their differences with the assistance of a neutral mediator. The process is informal and voluntary, and both parties must agree to participate. The goal is to complete the mediation with a voluntary, negotiated resolution of the subject charge.
“When a company signs a settlement agreement with the EEOC and a charging party - whether the agreement occurs during mediation, investigation, or conciliation - the EEOC expects the company to honor such an agreement,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Companies that voluntarily agree to settle a charge and then renege, will find that the EEOC taking all appropriate steps - including suit - to ensure that they comply with settlement agreements.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC and its mediation program is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.