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Dunbar v. Foot Locker, Inc.

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Status: Closed
Outcome:
Victory
Court:
South Carolina State Court
Issues: Employment and Rights in the Workplace

Case arguing that Foot Locker failed to protect one of its employees from severe antigay harassment and discrimination in the workplace

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Summary

As an employee at Foot Locker (the athletic footwear and apparel chain), Kevin Dunbar suffered severe antigay harassment and discrimination at the hands of his coworkers, supervisors and a customer. Foot Locker promises a harassment-free workplace and includes sexual orientation in its policies on discrimination and harassment, but when Dunbar formally complained, the discrimination intensified. Dunbar was transferred from one store location to another and eventually fired. In cooperation with the South Carolina Equality Coalition, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against Foot Locker on Dunbar’s behalf. Lambda Legal argued that Foot Locker breached its contract with Dunbar by violating its own antiharassment, antidiscrimination and open-door policies. A settlement agreement provided a monetary settlement for Dunbar, along with a commitment from Foot Locker to more vigorously train its managers and employees about antigay harassment and to provide information on support and services to handle such harassment.

Context

South Carolina is one of 32 states without explicit statewide protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In these states it is particularly crucial that companies with antidiscrimination policies make sure that all employees understand these policies and that they are enforced.

Lambda Legal's Impact

As a result of Dunbar’s case, Foot Locker employers nationwide will be trained in the dangers of antigay harassment and given resources to help combat it. Additionally, the case sent a message to employers in South Carolina and beyond that companies must take measures to enforce their own antiharassment and antidiscrimination policies.