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Savage River Lodge pays $150,000 in discrimination, retaliation lawsuit

May 2—FROSTBURG — An area enterprise has settled in a federal case that concerned costs of discrimination.

According to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission press launch, Savage River Lodge, LLC and Little Crossings, LLC, doing enterprise as Fronterra Resources — collectively known as Savage River Lodge — can pay $150,000 “and furnish significant equitable relief to settle federal charges that they discriminated against an employee because of her pregnancy and then fired her.”

The lawsuit, filed by the EEOC, sought reduction for Jessica Cook, an worker who labored at Savage River Lodge as a visitor providers consultant starting in October 2019.

“Savage River Lodge discriminated and retaliated against Cook by failing to provide her with accommodations that she needed due to her pregnancy and firing her days after she disclosed having suffered a miscarriage,” in response to the lawsuit.

The alleged conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “which prohibit disability discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation,” it acknowledged.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in opposition to Savage River Lodge in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after first making an attempt to achieve a pre-litigation settlement by way of its administrative course of.

“According to the consent decree resolving the EEOC’s lawsuit, in addition to the monetary relief, Savage River Lodge provided Cook with an apology,” the discharge acknowledged. “The company will confirm that she is eligible for rehire and is recommended for any job related to her former position at Savage River Lodge. The decree also enjoins Savage River Lodge from discriminating and retaliating against employees in the future.”

The firm will present specialised coaching on perinatal bereavement care and trauma-informed care to coach the workforce about being pregnant loss, cut back stigmatizing conduct concerning being pregnant loss, and shield girls who’ve skilled being pregnant loss from discrimination.

Periodic reporting to the EEOC and company monitoring had been additionally ordered.

‘Held accountable’

The EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and components of New Jersey and Ohio.

“We commend Jessica Cook for her bravery in challenging this employer’s conduct and for entrusting the EEOC with remedying the violations of her civil rights,” stated Debra Lawrence, regional legal professional of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, through the press launch. “Employers who fail to comply with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and retaliation must be held accountable.”

James Swan, supervisory investigator on the EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office stated the group is “committed to ensuring that employers comply with federal anti-discrimination laws, including fulfilling their obligations to accommodate pregnant workers.”

Owner feedback

Savage River Lodge is owned by Jan Russell and Mike Dreisbach.

The enterprise “woman-led” and “woman-managed” and “committed to a safe and welcoming work environment” for all staff, Russell stated through e-mail.

“For 25 years we have maintained an excellent reputation,” she stated.

“The decision to settle this matter was driven by a desire to eliminate the uncertainty brought by the protracted litigation process,” Russell stated.

DNR curiosity

In 2020, the lodge was listed on-line on the market for $7.9 million and described as located on 43 personal acres surrounded by 700 acres of Savage River State Forest.

Last 12 months, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources indicated curiosity in shopping for Savage River Lodge.

A November letter to Garrett County Board of Commissioners Chair Paul Edwards, State Sen. Mike McKay and Del. Jim Hinebaugh acknowledged “notification of a potential real estate acquisition in Garrett County” and listed 41.96 acres on Mount Aetna Road.

The “property is being considered by (DNR) as a potential addition to Savage River State Forest,” it acknowledged.

In December, DNR Media Relations Manager Gregg Bortz stated the lodge house owners had met with DNR Secretary Josh Kurtz “and others in DNR leadership” in Annapolis to debate the enterprise.

“DNR management routinely talks with landowners of tracts that abut or reside within DNR properties on their potential future use of their lands,” he stated on the time. “As this was an informal meeting there was no agenda nor minutes taken.”

Teresa McMinn is a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. She could be reached at 304-639-2371 or [email protected].

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