WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with Spartanburg County, S.C., that if approved by the U.S. District Court, will resolve allegations that the County engaged in employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII). Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion, and prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes an unlawful employment practice, or because the employee has made a charge or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the Act.
The United States alleged in its complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina, that Spartanburg County discriminated against Jennifer Fowler while she was employed in the County’s Department of Roads and Bridges, by subjecting her to sexual harassment that created a hostile work environment and by failing to take appropriate action to remedy the sex discrimination.
Under the terms of the consent decree, the County will pay $225,000, inclusive of attorneys fees, to Ms. Fowler, and will provide mandatory training to all supervisory employees in the County’s Roads and Bridges Department regarding Title VII’s prohibitions against sex discrimination; implement modified anti-sexual harassment policies; retain certain records; and be subject to compliance monitoring by the United States.
"This consent decree sends the important message that sex discrimination by public employers will not be tolerated," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "I am pleased that we were able to work with the County to arrive at a resolution that will put mechanisms in place to prevent sexual harassment in the future."
Ms. Fowler, who intervened in the case as a plaintiff-intervenor, initially filed a charge of employment discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging sex discrimination. The EEOC investigated the matter and found reasonable cause to believe that violations of Title VII occurred before referring the charge to the Justice Department.
The Department of Justice is committed to the vigorous enforcement of Title VII. The Department has filed seven Title VII suits so far this year. More information about Title VII and other federal employment laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp/index.html.