Another Approaching Benchslap for EEOC?

By John Alan Doran

In a positively delightful “man bites dog” story, a former EEOC investigator just filed suit against the EEOC alleging race discrimination, racially hostile work environment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII and the Civil Rights Act. Richardson v. Barrien et al., No. 2:14-cv-01882-MEA (D. Az., filed  August 22, 2014). Jae Richardson worked for the EEOC’s Phoenix Regional Office from 1992 to 2014, when she apparently retired. According to the Complaint, Ms. Richardson was promoted to an investigator position early in her career, but received a series of demotions and disciplinary actions throughout her career on account of her race. The Complaint tells a tawdry tale of long-standing racism and even reverse racism at the highest levels of the EEOC Phoenix Regional Office and even the EEOC nationally. It also alleges false statements and document falsification on the part of EEOC investigators. According to the Complaint, “the EEOC’s racial discrimination record is the worst of any Federal Agency…and [it] has itself willfully [sic] violated the Fair Labor Standards Act on a nationwide basis….” The Complaint goes on to note that “the racial makeup of its workforce would set off alarm bells…” and that “the agency is more interested in collecting money than eradicating discrimination in the workplace across this country. EEOC is like the fox guarding the henhouse.”

The complaint provides ample fodder for future cross-examinations of EEOC investigators, and for this we truly thank Ms. Richardson. We promise to keep an eagle eye on this gem so we can immediately report the benchslap if/when it occurs.

See our earlier post on court reaction to the EEOC’s own employment practices.