Jackson Gentlemen’s Club Agrees to Extend Settlement Agreement in EEOC Race Discrimination Suit
Danny's Downtown Failed to Abide by Terms of Litigation Settlement, Federal Agency Charged
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has settled a contempt action against Baby O's Restaurant, dba Danny's Downtown, a Jackson-based provider of adult entertainment services. The contempt action charged that Danny's breached the terms of an agreement it entered into with the EEOC to resolve a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Danny's subjected four African-American females to unlawful race discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC charged that black entertainers were subjected to a variety of less advantageous terms and conditions of employment than white ones. The misconduct included subjecting African-American entertainers to arbitrary fees and fines, forcing them to work on less lucrative shifts, and excluding them from company advertisements, all because of their race. The EEOC also charged that Danny's retaliated against the entertainers by reducing their work hours when one of them engaged in activity protected by law, including filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The EEOC alleged the retaliation was so severe that one of the entertainers was forced to leave her employment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On Sept. 28, 2012, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Danny's (EEOC v. Baby O's Restaurant dba Danny's Downtown, Civil Action No. 3:12-CV-681-DPF-FKB) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In settlement of the EEOC's lawsuit, the company entered into a consent decree, which was entered by U.S. District Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III on June 28, 2013. The decree required the company to pay $50,000 in relief to the black females who had been subjected to the racial discrimination and retaliation. The decree also provided for significant injunctive relief, including revising the company's anti-discrimination policy; promulgating and disseminating it to employees; providing a copy of that policy to the EEOC; providing mandatory Title VII training to supervisory and non-supervisory employees and entertainers; making periodic reports of its compliance to the EEOC; and posting a notice the policy in its workplace.
The EEOC reported that Danny's paid the $50,000 to the discrimination victims, but failed to comply with all the other provisions of the decree.
On Sept. 28, 2016, the Commission filed a contempt action to hold Danny's Restaurant, LLC and Danny's of Jackson, LLC in contempt of court, as successors and the current owners and operators of Danny's, for failing to comply with the terms of the consent decree.
On March 2, 2017, the court approved an amended consent decree resolving the contempt action. The amended decree, agreed to by the EEOC and Danny's, extended the injunctive requirements of the decree by one year.
"Employers should be advised that the EEOC expects them to take our consent decrees seriously," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "They are not just settlement documents, they are court orders, and it is unacceptable for employers to ignore such orders designed to remedy and prevent discrimination."
Marsha L. Rucker, regional attorney in the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, added, "Settlement by consent decree is an effective way to preserve Commission resources. It eliminates the need to engage in protracted litigation, while at the same time it provides an enforceable mechanism to obtain relief which remedies the allegations in the underlying complaint. However, as this action demonstrates, in those instances where a defendant violates a consent decree, the EEOC must and will pursue further court action to ensure compliance after informal methods of resolution have proven futile."
The EEOC's Birmingham District has jurisdiction in Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.
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