28 Event Space, a wedding venue in the popular Crossroads District of Kansas City, Mo., has agreed to compensate a former part-time employee who the EEOC says was subjected to a long campaign of intimidation and threats by the owner, and to provide other relief to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC filed suit against 28 Event Space, LLC in November 2018, charging that its owner, Doug Lytle, first tried to bribe, then threatened and finally fired a part-time employee who was a witness in a race discrimination case against a Kansas City custom cabinet builder that he partly owned. Lytle first offered the employee money and a used limousine in an attempt to persuade him not to testify in the race discrimination case. When the employee would not change his testimony, Lytle threatened his job and eventually removed him from the work schedule at 28 Event Space.
As a result of these allegations, which violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC sued the company in November 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. 28 Event Space LLC., Civil Action No. 4:18-cv-889-BCW).
In addition to paying the employee $15,000 and providing other non-monetary compensation, the company will create clear, understandable anti-discrimination policies, obtain training for the owner and employees and provide regular reports to the EEOC over the next three years.
“Retaliation against those who oppose discrimination is something the EEOC takes very seriously,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District. “Employees must be able to report discrimination and provide truthful testimony to federal investigators without fear of intimidation or losing their jobs.”
L. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District, said, “Retaliation remains one of the most frequently reported bases of discrimination. Too frequently, employers respond to complaints of discrimination by punishing the victim rather than perpetrator. This is not only illegal, it is bad business.”
Dayna Deck, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s Kansas City Area Office, added, “We are happy that the employee will be fully compensated and that the employer will receive training on anti-discrimination laws.”