Denham Springs Publishing Co. must pay $78,000 to a former employee and her attorneys under the terms of a consent decree signed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The firm publishes The Livingston Parish News and acquired The Antiques Gazette several years ago.
Under the terms of the EEOC agreement, the firm does not admit discriminating or retaliating against Jayme Jones, a former advertising sales representative for both publications.
Jones had alleged in an EEOC complaint that she suffered on-the-job discrimination after she became pregnant and asked company officials for their policy on maternity leave.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Jones spoke with Publisher Jeff David in January 2007 about maternity leave. Jones received a $500 performance bonus Jan. 15 of that year, the EEOC said in court records. Four days later, she was fired as a “poor performer who had not met the paper’s expectations for ad sales.”
On Thursday, visiting U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier, of New Orleans, filed his signed copy of the consent decree through which Jones will be paid.
The decree also shows Denham Springs Publishing maintains its management did not violate federal rules in Jones’ case.
Under the decree, the publisher pledges that its officers and managers “shall not maintain or permit discrimination in the workplace against any applicant for employment or employee based upon such person’s sex and/or pregnancy.”
At the same time, the publisher “has not admitted and does not admit that it has engaged in any unlawful employment practices,” the decree says.
Barbier said he will maintain control of the case and monitor Denham Springs Publishing’s payment of the $78,000 throughout the next 13 months.
Of that total, $31,854 must be paid to Jones’ attorneys at the Covington firm of Curry & Friend, according to the consent decree.
The remainder will be paid to Jones in installments during the 13 months, according to the decree.
For the next two years, the decree also requires the publisher to file compliance reports with the EEOC every six months.
The decree was signed by EEOC attorney Michelle T. Butler, Denham Springs Publishing attorney Anthony Todd Caruso and Jones’ attorney Gerald J. Huffman.