WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered into a consent decree that, if approved by the court, will resolve the department’s claims that H.M. Grimmett, sheriff of Bolivar County, Miss., retaliated against Robert E. Brown, a former employee of the sheriff.
The government’s complaint, which was filed along with a consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, alleges that the sheriff, through the acts of Warden Thomas Taylor, subjected Mr. Brown to discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Mr. Brown was terminated by Warden Taylor from his position as chief of security at the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility (BCRCF) because Mr. Brown filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Under the terms of the consent decree, the sheriff will implement policies and procedures addressing employment discrimination and the avenues by which BCRCF employees may submit complaints of discrimination. The sheriff will also use, at the sheriff’s expense, the Outreach, Education and Training Section of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office to provide live training to all of the sheriff’s employees with supervisory responsibilities on the law of equal employment opportunity, including Title VII’s prohibition against subjecting persons who engage in activity protected under Title VII to retaliation. Additionally, the sheriff will pay Mr. Brown a $53,500 monetary award.
“Title VII protects employees from retaliation when they oppose employment discrimination. The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions, which are critical to its anti-discrimination protections,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “A person cannot be terminated from his position for filing a charge of discrimination.”
“All workers have the right to go to work without facing discrimination and without having to suffer retaliation for engaging in protected activity under Title VII,” said Felicia C. Adams, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi. “We hope this case sends a strong message that this type of activity is unacceptable and that the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue such violations of Title VII.”
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt .