New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
November 18, 2020

Contact:
Kate Giaquinto, Director of Communications
kate.giaquinto@doj.nh.gov | 603-573-6103

Settlement Agreement in Anti-Discrimination Case

Concord, NH – Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces that the Civil Rights Unit reached a settlement agreement with The Fort @ Exit 18 ("The Fort") in Lebanon, New Hampshire stemming from allegations of employment discrimination and creation of a hostile work environment.

The Civil Rights Unit filed a charge of discrimination with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights in response to allegations that employees at The Fort repeatedly referred to the business's only Black employee using racial slurs. The employees used these slurs in front of the Black employee and in front of management, who did nothing to correct the behavior or discipline the employees. One of the employees, who supervised the Black employee, also wrote a derogatory message directed at the Black employee on the business's whiteboard. Management at The Fort was aware of the message and removed it before the Black employee could discover it but did not discipline the employee who wrote the message. Instead, management terminated the employee who had alerted the Black employee to the existence of the message. The Black employee ultimately quit his job as a result of the work environment.

As part of the settlement agreement, The Fort agreed, among other things, to update its existing policies addressing sexual harassment and "other harassment," undertake annual training of its employees regarding the employees' rights and obligations under the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination, that every six months The Fort will report to the Attorney General a summary of all complaints and the resolution of those complaints made against The Fort, its agents, or its employees. The settlement agreement and reporting requirements will remain in effect for three years. The Fort fully cooperated with the Civil Rights Unit's investigation and denies any wrongdoing.

The Civil Rights Unit is responsible for investigating complaints related to the violation of the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination, RSA chapter 354-A, and the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act, RSA chapter 354-B. The Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation based upon age, sex, gender identity, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status (only in housing), physical or mental disability, or national origin. The Civil Rights Act prohibits one person from interfering with the rights of another person through actual or threatened physical violence, property damage, or property trespass based upon race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.

Any person who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination or suffered a violation of the Civil Rights Act is encouraged to make a complaint to the Civil Rights Unit. Information on making a complaint to the Civil Rights Unit can be found at the following website: https://www.doj.nh.gov/civil-rights/index.htm.

The initial investigation of this matter was conducted by former Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Lahey. Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke of the Civil Rights Unit handled the settlement of this case.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658