EEOC Sues Credit Union for Retaliation

July 16, 2018

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against the Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union for unlawfully firing its only African-American branch manager because she opposed — and assisted another black employee in opposing — its use of a racially offensive video during a training session.

Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union, which recently changed its name to Meritus Credit Union, is based in Lafayette, LA. The branch manager, Connie Fields-Meaux, ran its branch in Crowley, LA, for about three years. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, during a training session, Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union used a video depicting a caricature of an African-American fast food worker as an example of “how not to provide customer service.” According to the suit, Fields-Meaux was so upset by the video that she momentarily excused herself from the session and that other black employees told Fields-Meaux that they, too, were upset by the video. The EEOC said that Fields-Meaux reported the con­cerns of one of the African-American employees the next day, and the day after that, Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union fired her, without warning or explanation

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The EEOC, which has authority to bring the suit on behalf of the public, has asked the court to permanently enjoin Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union from engaging in future retaliation. It has also asked the court to order it to pay Fields-Meaux both punitive and compensatory damages as well as back pay.