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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against a Louisiana credit union for allegedly firing a branch manager after she objected to a racist training video.
The EEOC said Friday that during a training session, Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union, based in Lafayette, Louisiana, showed a video depicting a caricature of an African-American fast food worker as an example of “how not to provide customer service.”
The EEOC said Connie Fields-Meaux, the credit union’s only African-American branch manager, became so upset by the video that she momentarily excused herself from the session, and that other black employees told her they were also upset by it.
The EEOC said Ms. Fields-Meaux reported the concerns of one of the African-American employees the next day, and she was fired the following day, without warning or explanation.
The EEOC is charging the credit union, which has changed its name to Meritus Credit Union, with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is asking the court to permanently enjoin the credit union from engaging in future retaliation and to pay Ms. Fields-Meaux punitive and compensatory damages and back pay.
Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston district office, said in a statement, “Retaliating against employees for reporting racially offensive workplace conduct is a serious violation of federal law that the EEOC will prosecute.”
Meritus Credit Union said in a statement, “Having just received this notification, we are consulting with our legal team. We value the dedicated service of our employees and we are committed to providing a positive workplace environment with equal opportunity for all. In the case of this particular personnel matter, we will work closely with our legal counsel to defend our organization against this false claim.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a case on the issue of whether the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has the authority to subpoena information even after it has issued a right-to-sue letter leaves a circuit split unresolved.