University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE EE-FL-0091
Docket / Court 8:99-cv-02218-RAL ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
The Miami District office of the EEOC filed suit against Outback Steakhouse of Florida, Inc. on September 30, 1999 in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida. The EEOC claimed that Outback violated Title VII and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 when it discriminated against the ... read more >
The Miami District office of the EEOC filed suit against Outback Steakhouse of Florida, Inc. on September 30, 1999 in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida. The EEOC claimed that Outback violated Title VII and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 when it discriminated against the intervenor employee based on sex (female), paid her less money than her male counterparts, transferred her based on retaliation, attempted to force her to sign an illegal release concerning her rights under Title VII, and ultimately fired her for not signing the release. The intervenor intervened in December 1999 citing the same Title VII issues found in the EEOC's brief. After both sides filed motions for summary judgment, which were denied, the case went to trial on September 10, 2001. Eight days later, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, awarding the plaintiff $27,108.28 in earnings, $36,894.61 in back pay, $50,000 for pain and suffering, and $2,100,000.00 in punitive damages. However, since punitive damages are capped by 42 U.S.C. s 1981a(b)(3)(D), the total award amounted to $364,002.89. This award was decreased to $346,369.43 after the court granted the defendant's motion to amend the judgment. The court also granted the intervenor $90,501.38 in fees.

Outback appealed a number of post-trial motions for a new trial, judgment as a matter of law, and others. The EEOC cross-appealed and motioned to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, which the appellate court granted. The district court then sent the two parties to post-judgment mediation for injunctive relief and the issues raised in the appellate court. Ultimately, the court entered a post-judgment consent decree, awarding equitable relief. The defendant was required to conduct training twice a year; submit reports of complaints to the EEOC; post notice of equal employment rights; and refrain from discrimination and retaliation.

Kevin Wilemon - 05/31/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Outback Stakehouse of Florida, Inc.
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 Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2001 - 2004
Case Closing Year 2003
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)
01-16640-AA (U.S. Court of Appeals) 04/26/2002
EE-FL-0091-9001 PDF | Detail
8:99-cv-02218-RAL (M.D. Fla.) 08/29/2006
EE-FL-0091-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 09/30/1999
EE-FL-0091-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Dena Zechella's Complaint in Intervention 12/28/1999
EE-FL-0091-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Intervenor's Amended Complaint in Intervention 06/15/2000
EE-FL-0091-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Motion to Compel] 03/13/2001 (M.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0091-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Motion for Partial Summary Judgment) 05/08/2001 (M.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0091-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Motion for Summary Judgment] 07/10/2001 (M.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0091-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jury Verdict 09/18/2001
EE-FL-0091-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
EEOC Press Release 09/19/2001
EE-FL-0091-0009 PDF | Detail
Order [re: Issue of the Illegality of Defendant's Release] 10/24/2001 (M.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0091-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Postjudgment Consent Decree 03/25/2003
EE-FL-0091-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: District Court
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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