University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. BOOKS FOR LESS EE-NY-0019
Docket / Court CV-06-4577 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
The New York district office of the EEOC brought this suit against Books for Less, LLC and Books for Less, Inc., which function together as an integrated enterprise selling books, in August 2006, in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The complaint alleged that Books for ... read more >
The New York district office of the EEOC brought this suit against Books for Less, LLC and Books for Less, Inc., which function together as an integrated enterprise selling books, in August 2006, in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The complaint alleged that Books for Less management, including the owner, subjected black and female employees to continual and extreme harassment based on race and sex, as well as harassing an employee for her association with black people. Books for Less was also accused of retaliating against employees who, regardless of race or sex, complained about the harassment in the workplace. The retaliation took the form of threats, harassment, lawsuits, and termination of employees. After a contentious discovery process and a series of settlement conferences held by U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, the parties settled by entry of a consent decree in March 2008.

The decree, which is in effect for four years, includes non-discrimination and non-retaliation clauses, requires complainants to be provided with neutral reference letters, and prevents Books for Less from saying anything to potential employers other than the dates of complainants' employment. The decree requires Books for Less to implement an anti-discrimination policy, which includes complaint procedures, to post and distribute material regarding anti-discrimination and regarding this lawsuit, and to provide anti-discrimination training to all employees, with special one-on-one training for the manager. Books for Less has also agreed to donate 1000 books or $10,000 dollars worth of books to the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Books for Less must also file regular reports to the EEOC regarding any complaints of harassment or discrimination and reports indicating compliance with various aspects of the decree, and must allow the EEOC to monitor its records at the EEOC's discretion. Books for Less has agreed to pay a total of $180,000 to settle the claims of individual complainants. The EEOC is empowered to seek court enforcement of the decree if it is violated, including in the case of payments not being made on time. Additionally, Books for Less has agreed that it may not use bankruptcy or any form of legal debt relief to escape its obligations under this decree.

Shankar Viswanathan - 05/30/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Neutral/Positive Reference
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Books for Less, Inc.
Books for Less, Inc.
Books for Less, LLC
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of one or more workers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2008 - 2012
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:06-cv-04577-NG-RER (E.D.N.Y.) 03/10/2008
EE-NY-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/24/2006
EE-NY-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Amended Complaint 01/19/2007
EE-NY-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Confidentiality Order Governing the Treatment of Certain Information Designated as Confidential 04/09/2007 (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 03/10/2008
EE-NY-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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