Thai-American Worker Harassed and Demoted, Federal Agency Charged
MEMPHIS – Houston-based U.S. Concrete will pay $135,000 to settle a national origin, age and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against its Memphis subsidiary, Titan Concrete, according to an agency announcement released today.
The EEOC charged in its suit against Titan Concrete (Civil Action No. 2:09-cv-02208-JPM-cgc, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee) that company officials harassed and discriminated against a Thai-American employee because of his East Asian national origin and age. David Piyavunno, a sales technician, was called “J-p” (although he is of Thai ancestry, not Japanese), subjected to insensitive ageist comments, and then removed from the sales department and demoted to a driver job because of his age and national origin.
After Piyavunno complained about the discrimination, he was further harassed, including being assigned to defective trucks, and repeatedly threatened with firing. Further, after Titan moved Piyavunno out of sales, it hired two unqualified white men into that department, without an application process that would have given Piyavunno the chance to apply for the positions. Ultimately Piyavunno resigned after the work environment at Titan became too hostile to endure.
All this alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Faye A. Williams, EEOC regional attorney in Memphis, said, “Titan Concrete officials subjected Mr. Piyavunno to humiliating and demeaning unlawful behavior based on a combination of discriminatory attitudes. Part of the EEOC’s work is to challenge complicated combinations of illegal discriminatory behaviors like this that harm employees, and to assure that fair remedies are achieved. We believe we have accomplished that in the settlement of this case.”
Other than the award of monetary damages, the four-year consent decree that resolved the lawsuit also includes injunctive relief that enjoins Titan Concrete from further discriminating based on age, national origin, and retaliation; requires employment discrimination trainings for senior managers involved in hiring and promotion; and mandates settlement compliance reporting to the EEOC.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.