Law­suit: KC busi­ness owner ac­cused in dis­crim­i­na­tion case

The Kansas City Star - - News - BY GLENN E. RICE grice@kc­

Fed­eral em­ploy­ment au­thor­i­ties al­leged the owner of a Kansas City wed­ding event space in the Cross­roads district re­tal­i­ated against an African-Amer­i­can em­ployee for sup­port­ing a co-worker’s ra­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion claim, ac­cord­ing to a law­suit filed Fri­day.

In its law­suit, the U.S. Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion said Doug Ly­tle, the owner of 28 Event Space, re­tal­i­ated against Theopilis J. Bryant who was a wit­ness in an ear­lier race dis­crim­i­na­tion claim against Pro­file Cab­i­net and De­sign. Ly­tle was a man­ager for the Kansas City based cus­tom cab­i­net maker.

The fed­eral law­suit was filed in Kansas City on be­half of Bryant.

In its suit, the EEOC claims that Ly­tle ini­tially of­fered Bryant money and the use of a limou­sine if he agreed not to tes­tify in the dis­crim­i­na­tion case. Ly­tle told Bryant that if he didn’t help dis­credit the dis­crim­i­na­tion claim that “he never wanted to see him again,” the law­suit says.

When Bryant did not to change his tes­ti­mony, Ly­tle threat­ened Bryant’s job and later re­duced his work hours at the wed­ding event space.

Bryant filed an EEOC com­plaint against the com­pany in 2016.

The agency is seek­ing back pay and com­pen­satory dam­ages for Bryant in ad­di­tion to an or­der that would pre­vent the com­pany from en­gag­ing in fu­ture dis­crim­i­na­tory con­duct.

“It is im­por­tant for em­ploy­ers to un­der­stand it is un­law­ful to re­tal­i­ate against any em­ployee who files a charge of dis­crim­i­na­tion or par­tic­i­pates or pro­vides tes­ti­mony in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” James R. Neely, Jr., di­rec­tor of the EEOC’s of­fice in St. Louis, said in a writ­ten state­ment.


A Google Street View photo of 28 Event Space, a pop­u­lar Kansas City wed­ding event space in the Cross­roads district. This im­age was taken in April 2017.

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