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United States v. Allegan Area Educational Service Agency

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan

July 17, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLEGAN AREA EDUCATIONAL SERVICE AGENCY, ET AL., Defendants. JANE DOE 1 and JANE DOE 2, Plaintiff Intervenors,

          CONSENT DECREE

          HONORABLE PAUL L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This action was brought by Plaintiff United States of America (“United States”) against the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency (“AAESA”) to enforce the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq., as amended, (“Title VII”), following the United States' receipt from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) of charges of discrimination timely filed by Plaintiff Intervenors (“Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2”) against AAESA. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 have intervened in the action, alleging violations of Title VII arising from the same nucleus of facts as those alleged by the United States. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345.

         In its Complaint, the United States alleges that AAESA discriminated against Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 on the basis of sex by subjecting them to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. The allegations of the United States against AAESA are set forth in detail in its Complaint. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 allege similar violations of Title VII in their complaint in intervention.

         The United States, AAESA, Jane Doe 1, and Jane Doe 2 (also referred to collectively as the “Parties” and singularly as “Party”), desiring that this action be settled by this Consent Decree (“Decree”), without the burdens and risks of protracted litigation, agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the Parties to this action. This Decree, being entered into with the consent of the United States, AAESA, Jane Doe 1, and Jane Doe 2, shall not constitute an adjudication or finding on the merits of the case, nor be construed as an admission by AAESA.

         II. FINDINGS

         1. Having examined the terms and provisions of this Decree, the Court finds the following:

a. The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of and the Parties to this action;
b. In resolution of this action, the Parties waive findings of fact and conclusions of law on the merits of this case, and further agree to entry of this Decree as a final and binding agreement amongst them with regard to all claims asserted in the United States' Complaint in this case.

         In resolution of this action, the Parties hereby AGREE to and the Court expressly APPROVES, ENTERS, and ORDERS the following:

         III. DEFINITIONS

         2. “Day” or “days” refer to calendar days, not business days, unless otherwise stated.

         3. “Date of Entry of this Decree” is the date on which the Court enters this Decree as a final order of the Court.

         IV. PURPOSES OF THE CONSENT DECREE

         4. The purposes of this Decree are to:

a. provide general, non-monetary remedies that ensure that AAESA does not discriminate against any employee on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII; and
b. provide remedies to Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

         V. GENERAL INJUNCTIVE & EQUITABLE RELIEF

         5. AAESA shall not:

a. engage in any act or practice that discriminates against any AAESA employee on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII; or
b. to the extent proscribed by Title VII, discriminate against any person because that person participated in or cooperated with the United States' investigation of AAESA, participated in the litigation of this case, complained about or opposed the challenged employment practices, or received or sought relief or otherwise benefitted under this Decree.

         VI. IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY GOVERNING HARASSMENT

         6. Within twenty days (20) days of the entry of this Decree, AAESA will submit to the United States for review a copy of its written policy governing harassment. If AAESA does not have a written policy governing harassment, or if its existing policy does not conform to the requirements set forth in Paragraph 7, AAESA will draft or revise such policy and submit the new or revised policy to the United States for review within the same twenty (20)-day time period.

         7. AAESA's policy governing harassment shall include, at a minimum:

a. a description of the manner in which an AAESA employee may make a complaint of harassment or retaliation, including the identification of individuals authorized to accept complaints;
b. a description of the procedures that will be used to investigate all complaints of harassment and retaliation (including written and oral complaints), specifying all steps in the investigative process which will ensure informed decisions regarding the merits of a complaint. At a minimum such steps shall include:
i. interviewing all relevant individuals and ensuring sufficient documentation of the interviews;
ii. gathering and reviewing relevant documents; and
iii. checking whether prior complaints of a similar nature were made against ...

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