Maryland Federal Court Issues Arrest Warrant In EEOC Sex Bias Suit

By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Alex W. Karasik, and George J. Schaller

Duane Morris Takeaways: In EEOC v. Above All Odds, LLC, No. 1:21-CV-02492 (D. Md. Aug. 15, 2023) (ECF No. 50), a federal district court in Maryland issued an arrest warrant for an ex-executive of a company involved in an EEOC lawsuit. The EEOC alleged that the ex-executive sexually harassed employees of a mental health clinic. The Court issued the  arrest warrant due to the ex-executive refusal to cooperate in the case and with discovery orders.

For employers facing EEOC-initiated lawsuits, the issuance of an arrest warrant is a novel development but informative in terms of the perils of continuously ignoring court orders. 

Case Background

The EEOC initiated this lawsuit on behalf of three former workers, Bricciana Strickland, Shana Hanson, and Saidah Feyijinmi, of Above All Odds, LLC (“Company”) and the Company’s co-founder, Raymond Dorsey, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment of female employees.  (Compl. at 1).

Strickland alleged Dorsey sent text messages asking for a date, and when she refused, Dorsey responded by stating he could fire her from her position.  Id. at 5-6. Hanson alleged Dorsey made repeated unwanted sexual advances including Dorsey asking if he could rub her back, sending an email with pornographic content, and throwing condoms on her desk.  Id. at 7. Feyijinmi alleged she saw Dorsey throw condoms on Hanson’s desk.  Id. at 8. Together, Hanson and Feyijinmi reported Dorsey’s sexual harassment to the Company’s senior management. Id. at 7.

Strickland continued to reject Dorsey’s advances and was demoted, and ultimately Dorsey ordered members of management staff to terminate her.  Id. at 6. Hanson was terminated in response to reporting Dorsey’s conduct.  Id. at 7. Feyjinmi was presented with a new contract of employment that lowered her salary and required her to work two positions, and after she requested time to review the contract before signing, the company terminated her before she had the opportunity to sign her contract.  Id. at 8-9.

The Arrest Warrant

Throughout the course of the lawsuit, Dorsey failed to respond to the EEOC’s complaint and ignored several show cause orders directing him to appear in court.  Subsequently, the court found Dorsey in contempt of court in June 2023.

Dorsey also ignored a subpoena to appear in the case brought by the EEOC.  Thereafter, the court authorized the arrest of Raymond Dorsey and issued an arrest warrant on August 15, 2023.

Implications For Employers

Employers that are confronted with EEOC-initiated litigation involving allegations of a pattern of sexual harassment should note that ignoring court filings, court proceedings, and orders issued by the court, may result in the court taking action.  In this instance, the court relied on the ex-executive’s lack of response to pleadings, court orders, and subpoenas leading to the court issuing an arrest warrant.  While the issuance of arrest warrants is rare in litigation, this development illustrates that court orders should not be taken lightly.


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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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