Case: EEOC v. Sara Lee Corporation

4:06-cv-04176 | U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota

Filed Date: Sept. 26, 2006

Closed Date: 2010

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Case Summary

The Chicago and Minneapolis offices of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought this suit against Sara Lee Corporation, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota on September 26, 2006. The case was assigned to Judge Lawrence Piersol. The complaint, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleged that the Corporation had engaged in racial discrimination against employees. More specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant discriminat…

The Chicago and Minneapolis offices of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought this suit against Sara Lee Corporation, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota on September 26, 2006. The case was assigned to Judge Lawrence Piersol. The complaint, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleged that the Corporation had engaged in racial discrimination against employees. More specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant discriminated against three black former Sara Lee employees by failing to promote them because of their race. The EEOC sought injunctive and monetary relief for the claimants.

The claimants subsequently filed complaints as intervenor plaintiffs on December 12, 2006. In addition to the claims included in the EEOC complaint, the intervenor complaint alleged that the defendant retaliated against the claimants for complaining about the discrimination, the defendant created a hostile work environment, and the defendant constructively discharged the claimants. The intervenor complaint also made claims under South Dakota law. Neither the EEOC nor Sara Lee objected to the intervention, and the court granted intervention on February 6, 2007.

On June 29, 2007, the EEOC filed an amended complaint, removing all reference to one of the intervenor plaintiffs because it decided that using public resources to recover this plaintiff’s victim-specific relief would be inappropriate.

On November 25, 2008, the parties reached a settlement agreement and filed a proposed consent decree. Six days later, the court approved the consent decree. The consent decree required Sara Lee to provide African-American employees with the same training and conditions of employment as all its other employees and enjoined Sara Lee from retaliating against employees for asserting their Title VII rights. Sara Lee also had to reform its internal complaint procedures and hiring/promotion procedures, as well as provide anti-discrimination training sessions to its managers and supervisors. To ensure compliance, Sara Lee had to report back to the EEOC annually with a certification of compliance, as well as notify the EEOC of any complaints of race discrimination or retaliation. Additionally, Sara Lee agreed to pay $245,000 in damages, to be distributed among the three claimants. The duration of the consent decree was two years, during which the court retained jurisdiction to enforce its terms.

On December 8, 2008, the court dismissed this case with prejudice. The order of dismissal is the final entry in the docket; there is nothing to suggest noncompliance with the consent decree. So, the case presumably closed in December 2010 with the expiration of the consent decree.

Summary Authors

Justin Kanter (6/2/2008)

Rebecca Strauss (7/2/2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4757306/parties/equal-employment-opportunity-commission-v-sara-lee-corporation/


Judge(s)

Piersol, Lawrence L. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hendrickson, John C. (Illinois)

Kamp, Jean P. (Illinois)

Vasichek, Laurie A. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Connolly, Katie M (Minnesota)

Leonard, Michael I. (Illinois)

Lewis, Donald M (Minnesota)

Lindsey, Kevin M (Minnesota)

Marso, Lisa Hansen (South Dakota)

Tilson, Joseph E (Illinois)

Judge(s)

Piersol, Lawrence L. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hendrickson, John C. (Illinois)

Kamp, Jean P. (Illinois)

Vasichek, Laurie A. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Connolly, Katie M (Minnesota)

Leonard, Michael I. (Illinois)

Lewis, Donald M (Minnesota)

Lindsey, Kevin M (Minnesota)

Marso, Lisa Hansen (South Dakota)

Tilson, Joseph E (Illinois)

Other Attorney(s)

Hoy, Scott G. (South Dakota)

Strain, Micheal W. (South Dakota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Sara Lee Corporation

Dec. 8, 2008 Docket
1

Complaint

EEOC v. Sara Lee Corporation d/b/a Sara Lee Bakery Group

Sept. 26, 2006 Complaint
16

Intervenor's Complaint

EEOC v. Sara Lee Corporation d/b/a Sara Lee Bakery Group

Dec. 12, 2006 Complaint
46

EEOC's Amended Complaint

June 29, 2007 Complaint
51

Protective Order for Confidentiality

July 20, 2007 Order/Opinion
140

Consent Decree

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Sara Lee Corporation

Dec. 1, 2008 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4757306/equal-employment-opportunity-commission-v-sara-lee-corporation/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
19

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER signed by Judge Lawrence L. Piersol on 1/4/07; the briefs of plaintiff EEOC and defendant Sara Lee in response to the motion to intervene shall be due 1/18/07; reply brief of George Clark, Rickey Johnson and James Meier due 1/29/07.(SKM)

Jan. 5, 2007 RECAP
23

ORDER granting Intervention signed by Judge Lawrence L. Piersol on 2/6/07; George Clark, Jr., Rickey Johnson and James Meier shall be allowed to intervene as plaintiffs in this case and the intervenor complaint and answer to intervenor complaint are properly filed.(SKM)

Feb. 6, 2007 RECAP
122

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. Documents 114 , 117 , and 118 are granted to the extent set forth in this Order. Signed by U. S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol on 08/05/2008. (MWT)

Aug. 5, 2008 RECAP

State / Territory: South Dakota

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Special Collection(s):

EEOC Study — in sample

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 26, 2006

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of three Sara Lee employees who alleged that they were denied promotions because they were black.

Plaintiff Type(s):

EEOC Plaintiff

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

EEOC

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Sara Lee Corporation (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Retailer

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

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

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $245,000.00

Order Duration: 2008 - 2010

Content of Injunction:

Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law

Promotion

Provide antidiscrimination training

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Required disclosure

Retaliation Prohibition

Training

Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria

Utilize objective job description

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Pattern or Practice

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Retaliation

Discrimination-area:

Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Promotion

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

EEOC-centric:

Direct Suit on Merits

Private Party intervened in EEOC suit