The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered a consent decree with the Reading Parking Authority (RPA) in the City of Reading, Pa., which, if approved by the court, will resolve a lawsuit filed by the United States on June 27, 2013. The complaint alleged that the RPA violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it discriminated against former employee Henry Perez and other current and former employees of the RPA by subjecting them to harassment based on national origin (Hispanic), and then retaliating against Perez when he complained about the discrimination and harassment.
Under the terms of the consent decree, the RPA will institute new policies and procedures to ensure that its employees are not subjected to discrimination, harassment and retaliation. These policies and procedures will include a new reporting and investigation process to ensure that employees may report allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and that upon receiving such complaints, designated individuals will ensure that all such complaints are investigated appropriately. Additionally, the RPA will be required to provide training to all employees regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as the terms of the new policies and procedures put in place as a result of the consent decree. Finally, the RPA will pay a total of $77,500 in monetary relief to individuals harmed by the discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
“No one should have to endure harassment due to their national origin or retaliation for speaking out against such discrimination,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “This lawsuit sends a clear message that the department will vigorously protect the rights of those in the public sector facing discrimination. The department commends the RPA for working to put in place new policies and procedures to protect its employees from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”
The Philadelphia District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated and attempted to resolve Perez’s charge of discrimination before referring it to the Department of Justice for litigation.
“By working together closely in appropriate cases, the EEOC and Department of Justice can marshal public resources more effectively and strategically,” said EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis Jr. of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office. “This settlement demonstrates once again that our partnership can yield significant results and will ensure all public employees are protected from egregious and unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace.”
More information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov . The enforcement of the Title VII is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt .