In June 2023, R3 Government Solutions, LLC agreed to pay $82,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit was originally filed in September 2022 against R3, which operates as a federal contractor in Virginia. The case was scheduled to be tried before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a traditionally business-friendly court. However, the EEOC’s allegations were substantial. The complaint alleged R3 retaliated and discriminated on the basis of race and retaliated and discriminated on the basis of age, violating both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination Act of 1967.
The allegations stem from R3’s termination of one of its employees, an African American woman who worked as a recruiter. The employee opposed R3’s hiring practices, claiming R3 rejected candidates based on their age and devalued candidates based on their race or national origin. Subsequently, R3 fired the employee.
Title VII prohibits racial discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Further, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 prohibits an employer from retaliating against its employees who oppose age discrimination. Under both federal statutes, opposing unlawful conduct is a protected activity. But the EEOC lawsuit alleges R3 did just that, asserting “R3 took material adverse action against [the employee] . . . by engaging in unlawful retaliation.” The lawsuit claims the employee repeatedly refused to “participate in the company’s discriminatory hiring practices.”
The EEOC’s lawsuit requested back pay for the employee, additional compensation for the employee’s pecuniary losses, punitive damages against R3, and liquidated damages. Rather than advance to trial, R3 settled the case, but not for a bargain. The settlement serves testament to the extensive relief plaintiffs may seek under Title VII and the Age Discrimination Act of 1967. For many businesses, such as R3, the risk of trial just isn’t worth the reward.
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