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EEOC has settled suit against local credit union

Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 19:04:07-05

A suit filed this summer by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a local credit union has been settled.

The suit, filed in July against Meritus Credit Union, the former Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union, was settled, a statement from the credit union states.

“While Meritus continues to deny the allegations in the lawsuit, we prefer the certainty of resolution over the cost of continued legal proceedings. The settlement is not an admission of liability, and we strongly maintain no violation occurred. We at Meritus Credit Union value the dedicated service of our employees and we are committed to providing a positive workplace environment with equal opportunity for all,” a statement from the company reads.

In July, the EEOC alleged that Lafayette Schools’  Federal Credit Union unlawfully fired 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.

The branch manager, Connie Fields-Meaux, ran its branch in  Crowley 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.

The EEOC filed its suit federal court in Lafayette, alleging federal civil rights violations, after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process, the EEOC said.

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.

At the time the suit was filed, the credit union released this statement:

After being reported earlier today in local media outlets, Meritus Credit Union was notified by its legal counsel that the organization has been named in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Having just received this notification, we are consulting with our legal team.
We value the dedicated service of our employees and we are committed to providing a positive workplace environment with equal opportunity for all. In the case of this particular personnel matter, we will work closely with our legal counsel to defend our organization against this false claim.