National Catholic Health Care System Sued for Retaliation

August 8, 2011 ( - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged in a lawsuit that Trinity Health Corporation violated federal law by retaliating against employees who file or refuse to drop discrimination charges with the EEOC.

According to a news release, Trinity Health is a national Catholic health care system which is the parent of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, a North Central Indiana health care system. The lawsuit claims Trinity Health has a policy of refusing to pay severance and/or discontinuing severance payments to workers who file or refuse to drop discrimination charges with the EEOC.   

The EEOC said Trinity Health refused to provide severance payments and benefits to Becky Thompson, an employee of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, after learning that she had filed an EEOC charge. The number of other workers affected by this practice is unknown at this time.  

The agency accuses the firm of violating the retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC asserts that the company’s actions were intentional and demonstrated a reckless indifference to the workers’ federally protected rights.  

The suit seeks severance payments plus interest, compensatory and punitive damages and liquidated damages against Trinity Health, as well as other relief, including a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in any future retaliation.