EEOC seeking right to intervene in Texaco discrimination suit Post-settlement motion is unusual

November 21, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) asked yesterday to be allowed to intervene in a discrimination suit settled last week by Texaco Inc., raising the possibility that .. the record agreement may have to be renegotiated.

In a federal court motion, the EEOC said it did not want to try the case but wanted to be involved in the negotiations of the settlement, which still must be approved by a federal judge.

"As representative of the public interest, EEOC is concerned that HTC the injunctive relief fashioned as part of the settlement will be appropriate to eradicate the discrimination that is the subject of the pending litigation," the agency wrote in its motion filed in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y.

The agency said its concern "relates solely to the nonmonetary aspect of the proposed settlement, and to ensuring that the violations cease and an effective settlement is put into place to prevent any repetition of the violations."

The settlement, reached over several weeks in talks between Texaco and lawyers for the plaintiffs who brought the suit, provided that the company would pay more than $140 million to minority employees. Texaco also will reshape its employment policies through programs estimated to cost $35 million.

Several civil rights lawyers said they do not recall the agency ever before intervening in a case after a settlement. But agency officials said they had been brought into the case long ago, when U.S. Judge Charles L. Brieant, who is hearing it, asked for an investigation.

That investigation was completed by the agency in June, with a finding that there was systemic discrimination at Texaco. At the time, the agency proposed that it conciliate a resolution with Texaco, although little progress was made in that effort.

"We identified a very egregious situation," Claire Gonzales, an agency spokeswoman, said yesterday.

"There is evidence of discrimination on a class-wide basis. That is what we want to make sure is addressed."

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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