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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Maurizio's Trattoria Italiana, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. California

January 2, 2020

U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
MAURIZIO'S TRATTORIA ITALIANA, LLC, Defendant.

          CONSENT DECREE AND ORDER [DOC. NO. 29]

          Hon. Michael M. Anello, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC” or the “Plaintiff”), and Defendant Maurizio Trattoria Italiana LLC (“Defendant” or “Maurizio Trattoria”), hereby stipulate and agree to entry of this Consent Decree to resolve the Commission's lawsuit against Defendant in EEOC v. Maurizio Trattoria LLC, Case No. 18-cv-338-MMA (BLM).

         On February 13, 2018, the EEOC filed this action in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, for violations of Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq. (“Title VII”). The Complaint alleges that Defendant unlawfully discriminated against Charging Party Elena Boni because of her pregnancy, a condition of her sex (female), childbirth, and/or related medical condition.

         II. PURPOSES AND SCOPE OF THE CONSENT DECREE

         A. The Parties to this Consent Decree (“Decree”) are the EEOC and Defendant Maurizio Trattoria. The EEOC and Defendant are referred to collectively as the “Parties.” This Decree shall be binding on and enforceable against Defendant and its successors and assigns. The Parties have entered into this Decree to resolve a disputed claim to avoid the expense, time, and uncertainty of further litigation.

         B. The Parties have agreed through this Decree that Defendant will provide monetary and injunctive relief. The injunctive relief includes proactive measures cultivating a work environment free from discrimination and employment practices complying with federal laws, providing training for Defendant's managers and employees regarding sex, and specifically pregnancy discrimination, and utilizing effective mechanisms for handling pregnancy discrimination complaints.

         III. RELEASE OF CLAIMS

         A. This Decree fully and completely resolves all issues, claims, and allegations by the EEOC that have been raised or could have been raised in the Complaint filed in the above-captioned case as against all parties.

         B. Nothing in this Decree shall be construed to preclude any party from suing to enforce this Decree if any party hereto fails to perform the promises and representations contained herein.

         C. Nothing in this Decree shall be construed to limit or reduce any obligations to comply fully with Title VII or any other federal employment statute.

         D. This Decree in no way affects the EEOC's right to bring, process, investigate, or litigate other charges that may be in existence or may later arise against any party in accordance with standard EEOC procedures. This Decree shall in no way hinder or affect an individual's right to file a charge with the EEOC or applicable state agency, participate in a federal or state investigation, or the EEOC's investigation and determinations into such charges.

         IV. JURISDICTION

         A. The Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of this lawsuit. The Complaint asserts claims that, if proven, would authorize the Court to grant the equitable relief set forth in this Decree.

         B. The terms and provisions of this Decree are fair, reasonable and just.

         C. This Decree conforms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and any other federal statute(s), and is not in derogation of the rights or privileges of any person.

         D. The Court shall retain jurisdiction of this action during the duration of the Decree for the purposes of entering all orders, judgments, and decrees that may be necessary to implement the relief provided herein.

         V. EFFECTIVE DATE AND DURATION OF DECREE

         A. The provisions and agreements contained herein are effective immediately upon the date which this Decree is entered by the Court (“the Effective Date”).

         B. This Decree shall remain in effect for four and a half (4 ½) years after the Effective Date; or until Defendant satisfies the total monetary relief set forth in this Decree in Section VIII.A. The Decree is terminated upon the filing by the EEOC of a notice of satisfaction of monetary relief, but termination shall not be earlier than two years from the Effective Date.

         VI. MODIFICATION AND SEVERABILITY

         A. This Decree constitutes the complete understanding of the parties with respect to the matters contained herein. No waiver, modification, or amendment of any provision of this Decree will be effective unless made in writing and signed by an authorized representative of each of the parties.

         B. If one or more provisions of the Decree are rendered unlawful or unenforceable, the parties shall make good faith efforts to agree upon appropriate amendments to this Decree to effectuate the purposes of the Decree. In any event, the remaining provisions will remain in full force and effect unless the purposes of the Decree cannot, despite the parties' best efforts, be achieved.

         C. The Parties agree that this Decree may be amended or modified in the interests of justice and fairness to effectuate the provisions of this Decree.

         VII. COMPLIANCE AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

         A. The parties expressly agree that if the EEOC has reason to believe that Defendant has failed to comply with any provision of this Consent Decree, the EEOC may bring an action before this Court to enforce the Decree. Prior to initiating such action, the EEOC will notify Defendant and its legal counsel of record, in writing, of the nature of the dispute. This notice shall specify the provision(s) of the Consent Decree that the EEOC believes Defendant has breached along with the reason and basis of the alleged breach. Absent a showing by either party that the delay will cause irreparable harm, Defendant shall have thirty (30) days to attempt to resolve or cure the breach; however, the parties can agree to extend this period upon mutual consent.

         B. The parties agree to cooperate with each other and use their best efforts to resolve any dispute referenced in the EEOC notice.

         C. After thirty (30) days have passed with no resolution or agreement to extend the time further, the EEOC may petition this Court for resolution of the dispute, seeking all available relief, including an extension of the term of the Decree for such period as Defendant is shown to be in breach of the Decree and the EEOC's costs and attorneys' fees incurred in securing compliance with the Decree.

         D. The only exception to the above procedure for compliance and dispute resolution is with respect to the Defendant's obligations to pay monetary relief as set forth in Section VIII.A. Upon any breach of Section VIII.A., the EEOC may petition this Court for resolution of the breach, seeking all available relief, including EEOC's costs and attorneys' fees incurred in securing compliance with the Decree.

         VIII. MONETARY AND CLAIMANT SPECIFIC RELIEF

         A. Monetary Relief

         1. In settlement of this lawsuit, Defendant shall pay the sum of $18, 800 (“settlement amount”) to Charging Party Elena Boni.

         2. Within ten (10) days of the Effective Date, the EEOC is to provide to Defendant the current address of Elena Boni and/or information of her bank account to which monetary relief is to be sent.

         3. Within thirty (30) days of the Effective Date, Defendant shall send a check, via first class certified mail or via bank / wire transfer, in the amount of $2, 000 to Charging Party. Beginning sixty (60) days of the Effective Date, the remaining amount, $16, 800, shall be sent to the Charging Party by Defendant in equal monthly payments of $350 for a period of forty-eight (48) months by checks, via first class certified mail or bank / wire transfer, by the 1st of each month.

         4. Within three (3) business days of mailing the check to Charging Party, Defendant shall submit a copy of any checks, receipt of bank or wire transfer, and related correspondence to Regional Attorney, Anna Y. Park, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 255 East Temple Street, 4th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

         5. In the event a payment is not made in accordance with the schedule set forth in Section VIII.A. of the Consent Decree, the EEOC will issue a notice of non-compliance with the Consent Decree's schedule of monetary payments in which the Defendant shall have fifteen (15) days to cure the nonpayment. If the Defendant fails to cure the breach within fifteen (15) days, then the remaining balance plus interest as of the Effective Date shall be accelerated and shall be paid in full within fifteen (15) days thereafter. This section is exempt from Section VII of the Decree on Compliance and Dispute Resolution. The EEOC will have the discretion to go into court to enforce the Decree without additional notice to enforce this acceleration clause.

         6. As security for Defendant's obligations for monetary relief under the Consent Decree, Defendant had executed a security agreement against Defendant. A copy of the Security Agreement is attached as Exhibit A. Defendants' obligations under the Consent Decree for monetary relief are secured by all real and personal property owned by Defendant, including all inventory, goods, equipment, trade fixtures, leasehold and leasehold improvements, furniture, vehicles, storage shed, air conditioning unit, freezer, refrigerator, computer equipment, contract rights, accounts, chattel paper, instruments, good-will, liquor license, general intangibles, and right to payment of every kind now owned or thereafter acquired by Defendant. The EEOC may seek enforcement of its rights under the Security Agreement in this Court.

         7. The EEOC has the sole discretion to characterize the compensation as wage or non-wage compensation for emotional distress suffered. Within ten days of the Effective Date, the EEOC is to inform Defendant of the characterization of the compensation to Ms. Boni. Defendant shall not deduct from the settlement amount any amount for taxes for compensation designated as wages. For all payments of the total settlement amount, Defendant, in the ordinary course, shall prepare and distribute any necessary tax forms, including Form 1099s, to Charging Party. Defendant shall make any appropriate reports for the payment to the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities. Defendant shall be solely responsible for any costs associated with the issuance and distribution of any tax forms.

         8. If Defendant fulfills its complete obligations of monetary relief as set forth in Section VIII.A., including full monetary relief to Elena Boni and sending to the EEOC documentation of full payment of monetary relief, before the end of the four-and-half year term of the Decree, the EEOC agrees to file a Notice of Satisfaction of Monetary Relief within ten (ten) business days of the receipt by the EEOC of the documentation of payment.

         9. Defendant shall pay up to $300 for a private attorney to consult with Elena Boni for one hour about a separate release of claims to which the EEOC is not a party.

         B. Specific Relief for Elena Boni

         1. Defendant shall delete from Elena Boni's personnel file or employment records of any negative warnings, discipline, or other negative references related to the incidents set forth in the Complaint during the time of her employment with Defendant.

         2. If an inquiry is made into Elena Boni, the only information that shall be disclosed will be the dates of their employment, the position(s) held, and that her job performance was satisfactory.

         IX. GENERAL INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

         A. Non-Discrimination

         Defendant, its managerial and supervisorial employees, its successors and assigns are enjoined from discriminating against its employees in violation of Title VII, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

         B. Non-Retaliation

         Defendant, its managerial and supervisorial employees, its successors and assigns are enjoined from retaliating against any of its current or former employees or job applicants in violation of Title VII of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, because he or she has in the past or during the term of this Decree:

1. opposed any practice made unlawful under or asserted any rights protected by Title VII;
2. filed a charge of discrimination alleging such practice;
3. testified or participated in any manner in any investigation (including without limitation, any internal investigation undertaken by Defendant), proceeding about this case and/or ...

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