EEOC v. Safelite Scheduled for Trial
October 23, 2012

by Casey Neeley,

A notice of hearing for jury trial was filed yesterday in the United States District Court of Eastern North Carolina in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) vs. Safelite Glass Corp. case. The case is set to be heard December 3, 2012 at 10 a.m.

The parties originally filed a joint motion for settlement conference in September. So far, the parties have been unable to reach an agreement.

"The parties are scheduled for trial on the date and time noted in the notice of hearing," says Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC. "However, as is common in civil actions, the parties continue to discuss settlement as an option to trying the case before a jury. Unfortunately, I cannot predict whether the case will actually settle prior to trial. In some instances cases settle as late as the day before trial or even after jury selection or during the trial. Therefore, the possibility of the case settling continues even after the trial has started."

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."

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