Golf International, Inc., a golf course and restaurant in Fountain Hills, Arizona, has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle an employment discrimination suit field by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC suit, Golf International violated civil rights laws when it fired a male employee, Jeffrey White, who had submitted an internal complaint alleging that female employees had been harassed by the head chef.
Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
After White filed the EEOC discrimination charge, the company offered to hire him back if he terminated the EEOC proceedings, according to the EEOC. White eventually did rejoin the company, but Golf International fired him again several weeks later.
The EEOC filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Arizona. The 48-month consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge David G. Campbell, requires Gold International to pay $25,000 to the fired employee and provide ongoing training about sexual harassment and retaliation. The company must also post notices at the workplace explaining civil rights laws generally and advising employees about their right to blow the whistle.
Karl Boettcher, Golf International’s General Manager, told the Phoenix Business Journal on Tuesday that White was fired for poor work performance, not for reporting the internal complaint or filing the EEOC charge. He said that the company’s attorney advised settling the dispute rather than going through costly litigation.
“It’s really not economically feasible to continue to fight with the EEOC, so that’s where the settlement came from,” Boettcher told the Phoenix paper. “We didn’t do anything wrong.”