Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. has agreed to pay $64,400 to a former employee who claimed the company withheld severance pay to pressure her to withdraw a discrimination complaint.
Starr Johnson, who is black and had been disfigured in 1997 after she was exposed to a blood pathogen, worked for Lilly for more than 23 years. Then the company fired her in 2005, just weeks after she filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
According to her complaint, her supervisor said he was appointed to supervise Johnson “so he could watch her and get rid of her and that no one liked looking at her.”
In addition to the cash settlement, Lilly agreed to notify employees in future severance agreements that they don’t have to waive their rights to file EEOC charges.
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