On December 20, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that a Louisiana credit union will pay $110,000 to settle allegations that it violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The suit was brought by Connie Fields-Meaux, who was the former branch manager of the Lafayette Schools Federal Credit Union (now known as Meritus Credit Union) in Lafayette, Louisiana. While still the branch manager, Fields-Meaux opposed a video used during a training session that she viewed as racially offensive. Fields-Meaux, who is African-American, opposed the training video because it depicted a racially-charged caricature of a black fast food worker as an example of “how not to provide customer service.” Several days after Fields-Meaux reported the video, the credit union abruptly terminated her employment without any explanation.
The EEOC filed the suit on behalf of Fields-Meaux alleging the credit union illegally fired her in retaliation for her reporting the video. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who implicitly or explicitly opposes conduct he or she reasonably believes to be unlawful. Under the terms of the settlement, the credit union will pay Fields-Meaux $110,000 to resolve the lawsuit, and the credit union will be required to provide regular training to its employees on the issue of unlawful retaliation.