Discrimination Case Ends In $150,000 Award For Florida Woman

Brevard County Florida must make amends in the amount of $150,000 to a Black employee who was fired from the Space Coast Office of Tourism because she “did not fit the vision of what the office should look like.” According to Click Orlando, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a settlement this week in the racial discrimination case.

Deidre Jackson was fired from the tourism office in 2015. EEOC officials found reasonable cause that Jackson was not lawfully let go under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Click Orlando reports. Jackson filed a complaint with the EEOC in November 2015 after she says she was fired solely because she was Black. She was one of two minorities in an office of about 13 employees.

In court documents, Jackson says that throughout her eight-year tenure at the tourism office, spanning March 2007 through May 2015, she had an exemplary record of performance, and her work was rated as exceptional in her final 2014 review. In 2014, a new director, Eric Garvey, who is white, was brought in to run the office. At the end of April 2015, he fired Jackson claiming she did not fit his vision for the office and there was no longer a place for her. On the same day, Garvey put pressure on the only other minority in the office, an Asian-American woman, to resign. Jackson was never given a formal explanation for why she was fired.

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After the two women were dismissed, the office was comprised of all white staffers. Two white women were hired to replace the terminated employees. Documents state that during Garvey’s four-year tenure at the office there were no other firings. 

The $150,000 settlement includes $100,000 in back pay to Jackson, as well as another $50,000 in compensatory damages. It also mandates that Brevard County provide live mandatory training on stipulations outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including race discrimination and non-retaliation. Any supervisor or manager hired moving forward must complete the training.

Garvey has since moved on from the Space Coast Office of Tourism. According to LinkedIn, he is now the Chief Operating Officer at Baugher Hotel Group in Cocoa Beach, Florida. In 2018, Garvey was tapped by the Trump Administration’s U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to serve as the chair of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism Infrastructure (NACTTI).