Lambda Legal Reaches Settlement Agreement With Foot Locker in Antigay Discrimination Case

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"Kevin Dunbar's nightmare can't be undone, but helped make one of the country's large employers a better workplace for gay people."
December 16, 2004

(Columbia, SC, December 16, 2004) —Today, Lambda Legal announced an agreement with Foot Locker, settling its antigay discrimination lawsuit against the company. Under the agreement, Foot Locker will train its managers and employees more aggressively about antigay harassment, including emphasizing to its employees access to support and services to handle such harassment and provide an undisclosed monetary settlement to Lambda Legal’s client.

“Kevin Dunbar’s nightmare can’t be undone, but helped make one of the country’s large employers a better workplace for gay people. All across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people face discrimination or harassment at work—Kevin Dunbar’s case showed how we can change that when one person stands up and demands fairness,” said Greg Nevins, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office in Atlanta. “Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment, and this agreement with Foot Locker will help ensure that what happened to Kevin Dunbar won’t happen again.”

Lambda Legal represents Kevin Dunbar, 26, who suffered antigay harassment and discrimination at the hands of his co-workers, supervisors and a customer at two different Foot Locker stores in Columbia, South Carolina. Foot Locker, Inc., promises a harassment-free workplace and includes sexual orientation in its policies on discrimination and harassment. When Dunbar formally complained, the promised confidentiality of the complaint was broken and the discrimination grew worse.

The settlement agreement brings to a close a lawsuit Lambda Legal filed on Dunbar’s behalf this summer. The lawsuit argued that Foot Locker breached its contract with Dunbar by violating the company’s own anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and open-door policies that are promised in the employee handbook.

The terms of the settlement include a commitment from Foot Locker that its current training for all of its employees will highlight sexual orientation nondiscrimination. The training in the company’s Columbia, South Carolina stores will be completed by summer. Dunbar also received an undisclosed monetary settlement. Foot Locker also agreed that all employees will be informed on a quarterly basis that any instances or claims about harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation can be reported to the company’s existing 1-800 number, which is staffed by HR professionals at a national level to ensure that employees with problems at a local level can seek help from corporate headquarters.

“I am very pleased to have this over and to be able to move on with my life. No one should have to go through what I experienced and now, hopefully, no one will,” said Dunbar. “The support I’ve gotten throughout this ordeal, sometimes from complete strangers in Columbia, gave me confidence to persevere.”

Greg Nevins, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Atlanta-based Southern Regional Office, is handling Dunbar’s case. He is joined by co-counsel Ernest Cromartie III of Cromartie Law Firm LLP in Columbia and Nekki Shutt of Callison, Tighe & Robinson LLC in Columbia. The lawsuit was filed in cooperation with the South Carolina Equality Coalition.