Case: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Deluxe Financial Services

0:15-cv-02646 | U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Filed Date: June 4, 2015

Closed Date: Jan. 20, 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of a transgender woman who alleged that she had been discriminated against by her former employer under 42 U.S.C. § 1981a. The EEOC alleged violations of Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000e) and sought monetary and injunctive relief on behalf of the complainant. The case was assigned to Judge Ann Montgomery. The EEOC claimed that the complainant was subjected to a …

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of a transgender woman who alleged that she had been discriminated against by her former employer under 42 U.S.C. § 1981a. The EEOC alleged violations of Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000e) and sought monetary and injunctive relief on behalf of the complainant. The case was assigned to Judge Ann Montgomery.

The EEOC claimed that the complainant was subjected to a hostile work environment and received disparate treatment because of her sex, gender preferences, and condition of gender dysphoria. They alleged that the defendant would not allow the complainant to use common female restrooms, and its HR department implied that undergoing genital reconstruction surgery was the only condition under which she would be allowed to do so. The complainant believed that this inquiry about the details of her genitalia was an invasion of privacy. On numerous occasions and using multiple forms of proof, the complainant also requested a change of her name and sex in internal records. After some hassle and delay, only some records were changed. This incomplete change of records resulted in, for example, outside merchants referring to complainant by her former male name.

The EEOC also alleged that the complainant was regularly referred to in a demeaning and derogatory manner by coworkers, and though she requested intervention, the defendant did not investigate her claims or issue any discipline. For example, coworkers and managers continually misgendered the complainant, used her former male name, and said that she looked like “Tarzan".

The defendant’s employee health insurance plan also contained a clause that categorically excluded all health benefits having to do with gender transition to transgender persons, regardless of medical necessity. Only if the individual’s gender did not match what was on the initial form would these benefits be denied - theoretically, a non-transgender person could be covered for similar treatments. As a result, the complainant paid for hormone therapy and blood level tests out of pocket.

The complainant announced her intention to transition and began presenting herself as female in November 2010, three years into her tenure with the employer. She began hormone therapy just two months later and provided documentation of a legal name change in February 2011. In June of 2011, she presented a doctor’s note confirming her diagnosis of gender dysphoria and a driver’s license with her sex listed as female.

The complainant’s employment with Deluxe Financial ended in July 2011. On her penultimate day of work, the defendant learned that plaintiff filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC. An HR representative then demanded that she sign a release as part of a severance package, but the plaintiff refused.

In October 2014, the parties began engaging in settlement negotiations. Shortly after, the complainant filed an uncontested motion to intervene as a plaintiff. On October 20, 2014, the court granted the complainant's motion.

On January 20, 2016, the court approved a consent decree in which the defendant agreed to pay $115,000 ($40,000 of which covered attorney’s fees and $75,000 of which was paid directly to the complainant), alter records regarding the plaintiff’s employment, and improve workplace policies and practices. Further, the defendant agreed to issue a letter of apology to the complainant, not mention her prior legal name or lawsuit details in a reference, and to ensure that records show that she was laid off, not fired. More generally, the defendant agreed to hire an outside consultant to revise policies to reflect, among other things: a clear commitment to preventing discrimination based on gender dysphoria and transgender status; encouragement of reporting discrimination; and an assurance that the defendant will investigate allegations of discrimination. All supervising employees would then be trained annually on these commitments to ensure compliance. The defendant further committed to complying fully with employee requests for name and biographical data changes, and to allow transgender employees unhindered access to restrooms without inquiring into medical history and documentation. With the employee health plan, the defendant agreed to eliminate partial or categorical exclusions for otherwise medically necessary care solely on the basis of sex and gender dysphoria. This applied to any care that was currently available to non-transgender persons, including hormone therapy.

The consent decree was set to last for three years. There has been no docket activity since the entry of the decree in 2016, so the case is presumably closed.

Summary Authors

Dan Hofman (2/25/2016)

Hope Brinn (5/14/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/13311068/parties/equal-employment-opportunity-commission-v-deluxe-financial-services-inc/


Judge(s)

Montgomery, Ann D. (Minnesota)

Rau, Steven E. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Halpern, Iris (Colorado)

Imdieke, Michael H. (Colorado)

Vasichek, Laurie A. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brandt, Angela Beranek (Minnesota)

Wilk, David M. (Minnesota)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Montgomery, Ann D. (Minnesota)

Rau, Steven E. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Halpern, Iris (Colorado)

Imdieke, Michael H. (Colorado)

Vasichek, Laurie A. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brandt, Angela Beranek (Minnesota)

Wilk, David M. (Minnesota)

Other Attorney(s)

Gaulding, Jill R. (Minnesota)

Hall, Christy L. (Minnesota)

Stratton, Lisa C (Minnesota)

Weiss, Jillian T. (New York)

Young, Ezra (New York)

Expert/Monitor/Master

O'Neill, Mary Jo (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

0:15-cv-02646

Docket [PACER]

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.

Jan. 20, 2016

Jan. 20, 2016

Docket
1

0:15-cv-02646

Complaint

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.

June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015

Complaint
26

0:15-cv-02646

Complaint in Intervention of Plaintiff/Intervenor Ms. Britney Austin

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.

Oct. 22, 2015

Oct. 22, 2015

Complaint
37

0:15-cv-02646

Consent Decree

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.

Jan. 20, 2016

Jan. 20, 2016

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/13311068/equal-employment-opportunity-commission-v-deluxe-financial-services-inc/

Last updated Aug. 31, 2022, 3:09 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.. Filed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Filer requests summons issued. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (Vasichek, Laurie) (Entered: 06/04/2015)

June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015

PACER
2

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: CLERK'S NOTICE OF INITIAL CASE ASSIGNMENT. Case assigned to Judge Ann D. Montgomery per Ind. Employment List and referred to Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. Please use case number 15-cv-2646 ADM/SER. (JDF) (Entered: 06/04/2015)

June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015

PACER
3

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: Notice re: Non-Admitted AttorneyWe have received documents listing Iris Halpern as counsel of record. If he or she wishes to be listed as an attorney of record in this case, he or she must be admitted to the bar of the U.S. District Court of Minnesota in accordance with Local Rule 83.5 (a), (b) and (c) or temporarily admitted pro hac vice in accordance with Local Rule 83.5 (d) or (e).For more admissions information and forms, please see the Attorney Forms Section of the courts website at href=http://www.mnd.uscourts.gov/FORMS/court_forms.shtml#attorneyforms. (JDF) (Entered: 06/04/2015)

June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015

PACER
4

Summons Issued as to Deluxe Financial Services, Inc. (JDF) (Entered: 06/04/2015)

June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015

PACER
5

MOTION for Admission Pro Hac Vice for U.S. Government Attorney Iris Halpern by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (JGK) (Entered: 06/10/2015)

June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015

PACER
6

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: ORDER granting 5 Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice of U.S. Government Attorney Iris Halpern for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Approved by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 6/10/2015. (JLW) (Entered: 06/10/2015)

June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015

PACER
7

DOCUMENT FILED IN ERROR/INCORRECT EVENT/TO BE REFILED - NOTICE by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Waiver of Service of Summons (Halpern, Iris) Modified on 7/29/2015 (las). (Entered: 07/29/2015)

July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

PACER
8

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed filed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Deluxe Financial Services, Inc. waiver sent on 6/29/2015, answer due 8/28/2015. (Halpern, Iris) (Entered: 07/29/2015)

July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

PACER
9

ANSWER to Complaint by Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.. (Wilk, David) (Entered: 08/27/2015)

Aug. 27, 2015

Aug. 27, 2015

PACER
10

RULE 7.1 DISCLOSURE STATEMENT. Deluxe Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Defendant Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.. (Wilk, David) (Entered: 08/27/2015)

Aug. 27, 2015

Aug. 27, 2015

PACER
11

ORDER/NOTICE OF PRETRIAL SCHEDULING CONFERENCE: Pretrial Conference set for 10/13/2015 09:00 AM in Judge's Chambers, Suite 334 (STP) before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. Signed by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 9/2/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Consent Form)(lmb) (Entered: 09/02/2015)

Sept. 2, 2015

Sept. 2, 2015

PACER
12

REPORT of Rule 26(f) Conference by both parties. (Halpern, Iris) Modified text on 10/6/2015 (kt). (Entered: 10/06/2015)

Oct. 6, 2015

Oct. 6, 2015

PACER
13

NOTICE by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of Request by Austin's Counsel to Appear Telephonically at Rule 16 Scheduling Conference (Halpern, Iris) (Entered: 10/09/2015)

Oct. 9, 2015

Oct. 9, 2015

PACER
14

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: ORDER Jillian T. Weiss' request to appear via telephone for the 10/13/2015 Pretrial Scheduling Conference is GRANTED. She is instructed to call chambers at 651-848-1620 to be connected to the conference. Entered by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 10/9/2015. (MME) (Entered: 10/09/2015)

Oct. 9, 2015

Oct. 9, 2015

PACER
15

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau: Pretrial Scheduling Conference held on 10/13/2015. Pretrial Scheduling Order will be issued after an early settlement conference is held. (lmb) (Entered: 10/13/2015)

Oct. 13, 2015

Oct. 13, 2015

PACER
16

ORDER/NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE: Settlement Conference set for 12/2/2015 09:00 AM in Courtroom 3C (STP) before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. Signed by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 10/14/2015. (lmb) (Entered: 10/14/2015)

Oct. 14, 2015

Oct. 14, 2015

PACER
17

MOTION for Admission Pro Hac Vice for U.S. Government Attorney Michael H. Imdieke by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (JLW) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
18

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: ORDER granting 17 Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice of U.S. Government Attorney Michael H. Imdieke for U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Approved by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 10/19/2015. (JLW) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
19

MOTION for Admission Pro Hac Vice for Attorney Jillian Weiss. Filing fee $ 100, receipt number AMNDC-4611274 by Britney Austin. (Hall, Christy) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
20

MOTION for Admission Pro Hac Vice for Attorney Ezra Young. Filing fee $ 100, receipt number AMNDC-4611278 by Britney Austin. (Hall, Christy) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
21

MOTION to Intervene (Unopposed) by Britney Austin. (Hall, Christy) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
22

MEMORANDUM in Support re 21 MOTION to Intervene (Unopposed) filed by Britney Austin. (Attachments: # 1 LR7.1/LR72.2 Word Count Compliance Certificate)(Hall, Christy) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
23

EXHIBIT INDEX re 22 Memorandum in Support of Motion by Britney Austin filed by Britney Austin. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit(s) A (Complaint in Intervention))(Hall, Christy) Modified text on 10/20/2015 (kt). (Entered: 10/19/2015)

Oct. 19, 2015

Oct. 19, 2015

PACER
24

ORDER granting 21 Motion to Intervene Signed by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 10/20/2015. (las) (Entered: 10/20/2015)

Oct. 20, 2015

Oct. 20, 2015

PACER
25

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: ORDER granting 19 Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice of Attorney Jillian T. Weiss for Britney Austin. Approved by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 10/22/2015. (JLW) (Entered: 10/22/2015)

Oct. 22, 2015

Oct. 22, 2015

PACER
26

First Intervenor COMPLAINT . Filed by Britney Austin. (Weiss, Jillian) (Entered: 10/22/2015)

Oct. 22, 2015

Oct. 22, 2015

PACER
27

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: ORDER granting 20 Motion for Admission Pro Hac Vice of Attorney Ezra Young for Britney Austin. Approved by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 10/23/15. (AKL) (Entered: 10/23/2015)

Oct. 23, 2015

Oct. 23, 2015

PACER
28

REPORT of Rule 26(f) Planning Meeting. Filed by Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.. Jointly Signed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.(Brandt, Angela) (Entered: 10/26/2015)

Oct. 26, 2015

Oct. 26, 2015

PACER
29

ANSWER to Intervenor Complaint and Demand for Trial by Jury by Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.. (Wilk, David) (Entered: 11/12/2015)

Nov. 12, 2015

Nov. 12, 2015

PACER
30

STIPULATION Stipulated Protective Order and Clawback Agreement by Deluxe Financial Services, Inc.. Jointly Signed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Britney Austin. (Wilk, David) (Entered: 11/12/2015)

Nov. 12, 2015

Nov. 12, 2015

PACER
31

PROTECTIVE ORDER AND CLAWBACK AGREEMENT. Signed by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 11/18/2015. (lmb) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

Nov. 18, 2015

Nov. 18, 2015

PACER
32

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau: Settlement Conference held on 12/2/2015. Settlement conference held and continued. (KNK) (Entered: 12/03/2015)

Dec. 2, 2015

Dec. 2, 2015

PACER
33

ORDER: settlement conference was held in this matter on December 3, 2015 and continued to January 12, 2016. Because the parties are continuing to discuss settlement, the deadlines in this matter will be stayed until further notice. The parties are instructed to respond to all discovery served to date. No further discovery shall be propounded or revived, however, until further order of this Court. Signed by Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau on 12/3/2015. (KNK) (Entered: 12/03/2015)

Dec. 3, 2015

Dec. 3, 2015

PACER
34

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: NOTICE of Setting Hearing: Continued Settlement Conference set for 1/12/2016 09:30 AM in Courtroom 3C (STP) before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. (MME) (Entered: 12/04/2015)

Dec. 4, 2015

Dec. 4, 2015

PACER
35

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: NOTICE of TIME CHANGE of Hearing: 34 TEXT ONLY ENTRY: NOTICE of Setting Hearing: Continued Settlement Conference set for 1/12/2016 09:30 AM in Courtroom 3C (STP) before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau has been MOVED TO 10:00 AM. THIS IS A TIME CHANGE ONLY.(MME) (Entered: 12/28/2015)

Dec. 28, 2015

Dec. 28, 2015

PACER
36

TEXT ONLY ENTRY: NOTICE of CANCELLATION of Hearing: 34 TEXT ONLY ENTRY: NOTICE of Setting Hearing: Continued Settlement Conference set for 1/12/2016 09:30 AM in Courtroom 3C (STP) before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. (MME) is CANCELLED. The parties are ORDERED to report to Judge Rau the status of their continued settlement discussions by 5:00 p.m. on 1/12/2016. (MME) (Entered: 01/08/2016)

Jan. 8, 2016

Jan. 8, 2016

PACER
37

CONSENT DECREE. Signed by Judge Ann D. Montgomery on 1/20/2016. (JME) (Entered: 01/20/2016)

Jan. 20, 2016

Jan. 20, 2016

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Minnesota

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 4, 2015

Closing Date: Jan. 20, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

EEOC and a transgender woman who underwent her transition while employed.

Plaintiff Type(s):

EEOC Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

EEOC

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Deluxe Financial Services, Inc. (Shoreview, Ramsey), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Retailer

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1981

Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $115,000

Order Duration: 2016 - 2019

Content of Injunction:

Apology

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Expungement of Employment Record

Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law

Provide antidiscrimination training

Retaliation Prohibition

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Discrimination-area:

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)

Discrimination-basis:

Gender identity

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

EEOC-centric:

Private Party intervened in EEOC suit