Agency Cites Explicit Sexual and Gender Based Comments, Racial Slurs and Retaliation Against a Class of Workers
BALTIMORE – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit against Accurate Insulation, LLC, on behalf of a female and class of African American workers who were employed at its Upper Marlboro, Md. location.
According to the suit, (Civil Action 8:09-cv-00793), filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the EEOC charges that a senior manager at Accurate Insulation subjected Felicia Cooper to sexually offensive overtures, overt comments, and explicit sexual requests. A senior manager also made racially charged statements to Lamont Womack, Elton Morgan, and Charles Briscoe by frequently referring to them as “boy” and stating that they “haven’t gotten their 40 acres and a mule,” referencing a proposed governmental reparations act following slavery. All four employees are African Americans and were employed as home insulation installers. Shortly after they filed internal complaints, the company began exclusively hiring Latino workers to replace them, and the African American employees’ job assignments and work hours were then drastically reduced. All four African American employees were terminated after they filed complaints of discrimination with the EEOC.
EEOC filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits sexual and racial harassment, and retaliation for complaining about it. The complaint seeks monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, and compensatory damages, the creation and dissemination of effective anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, training and punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“It is surprising that race and sex discrimination remain a persistent problem in the modern workforce,” said Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Any form of discrimination in the workplace is unlawful, and workers cannot lose their jobs for reporting it.”
According to its web site, Accurate Insulation, LLC is an independent, locally owned installer of insulation, garage doors, gutters, and fireplaces with two locations, Upper Marlboro and Hagerstown, Md., with more coming soon.
In FY 2008, EEOC announced that workplace discrimination charge filings increased 15% to an unprecedented level of 95,402. Charges based on race, sex, and retaliation continued to be the most frequently filed charges.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.