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KC business owner retaliated against employee after discrimination claim, lawsuit says

A Google Street View photo of 28 Event Space, a popular Kansas City wedding event space in the Crossroads district. This image was taken in April 2017.
A Google Street View photo of 28 Event Space, a popular Kansas City wedding event space in the Crossroads district. This image was taken in April 2017. Google

Federal employment authorities alleged the owner of a Kansas City wedding event space in the Crossroads district retaliated against an African-American employee for supporting a co-worker’s racial discrimination claim, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

In its lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Doug Lytle, the owner of 28 Event Space, retaliated against Theopilis J. Bryant who was a witness in an earlier race discrimination claim against Profile Cabinet and Design. Lytle was a manager for the Kansas City based custom cabinet maker.

The federal lawsuit was filed in Kansas City on behalf of Bryant.

In its suit, the EEOC claims that Lytle initially offered Bryant money and the use of a limousine if he agreed not to testify in the discrimination case. Lytle told Bryant that if he didn’t help discredit the discrimination claim that “he never wanted to see him again,” the lawsuit says.

When Bryant did not to change his testimony, Lytle threatened Bryant’s job and later reduced his work hours at the wedding event space.

Bryant filed an EEOC complaint against the company in 2016.

The agency is seeking back pay and compensatory damages for Bryant in addition to an order that would prevent the company from engaging in future discriminatory conduct.

“It is important for employers to understand it is unlawful to retaliate against any employee who files a charge of discrimination or participates or provides testimony in an investigation,” James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC’s office in St. Louis, said in a written statement.

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