Joint Motion for Settlement Conference Filed in EEOC vs. Safelite
September 10, 2012

by Casey Neeley,

On September 4, both parties in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) vs. Safelite Glass Corp. case filed a joint motion to refer the case to U.S. magistrate judge for a settlement conference. A judge approved the order for the motion on September 5. According to the motion, the parties believe that a pretrial conference "would be beneficial to a possible early resolution to this matter."

"For good cause shown, the parties' joint motion [DE-87] is allowed, and United States magistrate judge Robert B. Jones, Jr., hereby is appointed settlement master," states senior U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina Eastern Division James C. Fox.

If the parties are unable to settle, a trial is set to begin December 3.

In the suit filed August 6, 2010, the EEOC alleges that Lee Laraviere-Steele, who worked as a human resources assistant in the company's Enfield, N.C., manufacturing and distribution facility, was subjected to sexual harassment from March 2007 until March 2008 by the facility's male human resources (HR) manager. In addition, Laraviere-Steele and her husband, Darrell, had intervened in the case as plaintiffs and had filed a complaint that also listed Laraviere-Steele's former supervisor, Gregory Byrd, as a defendant.

Safelite officials objected to the suit after filing and have worked to close the matter. Safelite previously claimed that the case did not qualify under the applicable statute of limitations and the doctrines of waiver, estoppel, unclean hands, preemption and laches. In addition, the company claims that both EEOC and Laraviere-Steele "failed to exhaust their administrative remedies."

Earlier this year the EEOC opposed a motion for summary judgment filed by Safelite. The court denied that motion, but dismissed Laraviere-Steele's "claim for wrongful discharge against defendant Gregory K. Byrd and her claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress against both defendants."

Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger provided the following statement to™/AGRR™ magazine: "While we cannot generally comment on legal or HR matters, the court has dismissed all individual claims against Byrd. We continue to vehemently defend the remaining claims against Safelite in this suit. These accusations are not taken lightly; we have a firm commitment to the law and workplace ethics.”

The EEOC had not responded to a request for comment at press time.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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