The Justice Department announced today that it has secured a settlement with the Groveport Madison Local School District Board of Education (the Board) in Groveport, Ohio. The settlement resolves the department’s complaint alleging that the Board violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it discriminated and retaliated against former Groveport Madison High School Assistant Principal Amon-Ra Dobbins. Title VII is a federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and religion and prohibits retaliation against employees for opposing employment practices that are discriminatory under Title VII.
“No employee should face discipline or reprisals for filing a complaint regarding a dress code policy that may be causing harm to Black students,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We stand with those brave employees who oppose discrimination in the workplace and who work to ensure equal opportunity in all aspects of their jobs. This consent decree reflects the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to ensuring that no person should face retaliation for standing up against discrimination.”
“We are confident that the consent decree will lead to the development and equitable enforcement of policies that protect and promote the civil rights of all involved,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio. “The consent decree provides a path for the school district and school board to achieve Title VII-compliant policies, procedures, and training.”
According to the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Dobbins was unfairly disciplined after he complained that the school district’s dress code policy was being implemented in a manner that discriminated against African-American students. The complaint alleges that the school district began to retaliate against Dobbins for complaining, and ultimately terminated his employment. Under the terms of the consent decree, if approved by the court, the Board will develop and submit to the United States for approval, its discrimination and retaliation policies, complaint investigation procedures, and proposed trainings that will be used by the Board and school district. The consent decree also requires the Board to provide training for all Board and school district employees on these policies and provides for future annual training. The Board will also pay Dobbins $200,000 in back pay and compensatory damages.
The Cleveland Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated and attempted to resolve Dobbins’s charge of discrimination before referring it to the Department of Justice as an enforcement action. More information about the EEOC’s jurisdiction is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.
The enforcement of Title VII and other federal employment discrimination laws is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division and its work is available on its websites at www.justice.gov/crt and www.justice.gov/crt/employment-litigation-section.
The case was brought by Trial Attorneys Ejaz Baluch Jr. and Jeffrey Morrison of the Civil Rights Division’s Employment Litigation Section.