All is not lost if the EEOC rules against an employer during a lawsuit’s initial stages. Judges can refuse to let a jury hear what the agency concluded.
Lesson: Don’t let an adverse EEOC decision persuade you to settle.
Recent case: Chicago police officer Donna Lewis was turned down for a prized out-of-town assignment. Department policy required employees of the same sex to travel and stay together to save on hotel costs, and no other female officer could participate in the temporary assignment.
Lewis said denying her the assignment was discrimination and filed an EEOC complaint.
The agency agreed with Lewis, but the trial judge said a jury should hear the case—without input from the EEOC—so it could make a determination based solely on facts presented at trial. The jury found no discrimination. (Lewis v. City of Chicago, No. 08-2877, 7th Cir., 2009)
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