Published on:

Important Virginia Beach Title VII Victory

In Virginia Beach, Robin Lang just won an important victory
against the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service after having alleged discrimination
and retaliation related to her being passed over for a promotion because of her
gender.

She alleged that, after having been promoted to the position
of Crew Chief in 2008, she was then passed over four times for a promotion to
Sergeant despite the fact she was already fulfilling the duties of those
working as Sergeant.  As Crew Chief, she
was paid at a lower rate than those who were promoted to Sergeant despite
performing similar duties.  Ms. Lang had
received numerous awards, and when she discussed a potential promotion with her
supervisor, he told her there was nothing further she could improve in her work
performance to increase her chances of a promotion.  She was not promoted, and those who were
promoted instead of her were equally or less qualified.  All four individuals who were promoted
instead of her were male.

In her own words, Ms. Lang states: “VBLS does not have set standards
for promotion, nor does it have a set number of positions. The criteria it used
to promote men were never equally applied to me. After multiple meetings and
complaints about the disparity, at the first supervisor meeting of 2011, the
organization promoted 11 men. Not one woman. It felt like VBLS had flagrantly
promoted everyone who could have been promoted – except me. I found the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission on Google, went to Norfolk and filed a
charge.”

After having filed
her EEOC charge, Ms. Lang was taken off emails regarding her position as Crew
Chief, did not receive responses from her supervisors, and was later
terminated.  Her supervisor listed a
number of reasons for her termination, including “lack of interest and
enthusiasm” and failure to “turn in her uniform size.”  She was also told she was fired because she
did not ask questions at staff meetings, a requirement that she was never
informed of.  As a result, she filed a
complaint alleging discrimination under Title VII, including that she was
denied a promotion because of her gender. 
She also alleged a retaliation claim based on the actions VBLS took
after learning of her EEOC complaint.

After a four-day jury trial, Ms. Lang succeeded
in her claim.  The jury awarded Ms. Lang $17,500 in damages, and she was vindicated in that 12 strangers realized the merits of her claim.  Moreover, she noted how important it is for
those whose rights are violated to take action- to not stand by and allow
illegal activities to go on.