The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Medical Center Unlawfully Fired Black Woman Who Complained About Race Discrimination, EEOC Charged

DETROIT – Muskegon Family Care, a family medical center, has agreed to pay $85,280 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 1:08-CV-618, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan), Muskegon Family Care subjected Iris Towers, an African American supervisor at its Getty Road clinic, to race discrimination and retaliation by failing to promote her and firing her after she complained about ongoing racial harassment. From the start of her employment, the EEOC said, Towers faced an uphill battle because her direct supervisor displayed an immediate and ongoing dislike towards her because of her race. Even though Muskegon Family Care was aware of the discriminatory animus Towers’s supervisor harbored against her, it allowed the harassment to continue and let the boss terminate her as punishment for the complaint.

Race discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

The three-year consent decree settling the case requires Muskegon Family Care to pay $85,280 to Towers and to institute new anti-discrimination policies and procedures. Muskegon Family Care is also required to conduct annual training for all of its employees on Title VII’s requirements; post a notice to employees at the clinics about the decree; provide reports to the EEOC regarding its training; and permit the EEOC to monitor its compliance by allowing the agency to enter and inspect its clinics during normal business hours.

“This is a favorable resolution for everyone,” explained EEOC attorney Nedra Campbell. “Muskegon Family Care has committed to making significant changes that should be beneficial to both current and future employees as well as the medical center.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on June 2, 2009.

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