EEOC sues Dillard's for firing employee who complied with mandatory hurricane evacuation order

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | May 11, 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Dillard's Inc. and Dillard Texas, after the company allegedly fired an employee who complied with a mandatory evacuation order in advance of Hurricane Ike.

The lawsuit was filed on April 28 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

According to the lawsuit, Shontel Mayfield began working for a Dillard's store located in Central Mall in Port Arthur in July 2001. By October 2006, she was promoted to Business Manager of the Estee Lauder "workcenter."

In September 2008, Mayfield complied with a Jefferson County Mandatory Evacuation Order and left the area in advance of Hurricane Ike.

When she returned, she claims she was fired for "excessive absenteeism" by not communicating with the store manager or the operations manager about her absences.

According to the suit, Mayfield claims she called the managers and the store numerous times.

The EEOC alleges the store's motivation for firing Mayfield was due to her previous allegations of racial discrimination.

The EEOC is asking the court to order Dillard's to stop engaging in retaliation in violation of Title VII against employees who make good-faith claims of discrimination and for an award of damages for Mayfield for back pay, front pay, interest, past and future pecuniary losses, medical expenses, emotional pain, inconvenience, humiliation and punitive damages.

General Counsel for the EEOC includes P. David Lopez, James L. Lee, Gwendolyn Young Reams and Timothy M. Bowne.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:11-cv-00204

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