BLOOMINGTON — YWCA McLean County has been ordered to pay $67,647 after the Bloomington Human Relations Commission concluded the agency discriminated against a former employee when he was fired in November 2012.
YWCA, 1201 N. Hershey Road, also was ordered to have, for one year, an ombudsman to help YWCA develop a better understanding of employee management procedures.
Eric Tapley claimed he was fired after an argument with a female intern, who was allowed to continue her internship.
Gender discrimination violates Bloomington ordinance, the commission's final order said. The order follows a commission hearing.
"I'm extremely happy that the ruling was given," Tapley, of Bloomington, told The Pantagraph on Friday.
"It's been a long fight," said Tapley, who now works elsewhere. "It's made the past two years very difficult for myself. I'm glad other people agreed with me and justice was served."
YWCA President and CEO D. Dontae Latson told The Pantagraph that while the termination took place prior to his tenure, he heard the testimony.
"We recognize the commission has a job to do and, while we appreciate their efforts, we respectfully disagree with the decision and are currently exploring our options," Latson said.
The commission decision has no impact on YWCA plans to continue its work to lift women, eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity, he said.
Latson, a member of the human relations commission, recused himself during deliberations, meaning he didn't participate or vote.
Tapley was hired in 2012 for the YWCA's Stepping Stones sexual assault response and prevention program. According to the commission's findings, Tapley was trying to cheer up a female co-worker when she asked him to stop teasing her.
Tapley and a female intern raised their voices after the intern inserted herself into the conversation to advocate for the female employee. Tapley was fired 10 days later.
YWCA was ordered to pay $17,328.29 in actual damages, $15,000 in compensatory damages, $32,819.37 in attorney fees plus cost and a $2,500 fine to the city.
Tapley was represented by Bloomington lawyer Melissa McGrath.