Columbia Women's Shelter to Pay $103K to Settle Lawsuit

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ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said Monday that a Columbia shelter for women has agreed to pay $103,000 to settle a lawsuit for unlawful retaliation. The EEOC had charged that two employees were punished by True North, Inc., for reporting sexual harassment by the shelter's executive director.

According to the EEOC's suit, Nancy Gause was fired and Tracie Lawson was demoted for reporting Executive Director Leigh Voltmer on counts of inappropriate touching. They were co-directors of the shelter at the time. Both women had received positive performance feedback during their tenure before abruptly being punished without warning for poor performance.

In addition to making monetary payments to Gause and Lawson, the shelter has agreed to provide training on sexual harassment and retaliation to its employees, post a notice in the facility and report sexual harassment complaints to the EEOC.