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PRESS RELEASE
4-22-11

Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Settles EEOC Racial Harassment Suit for $160,000

White Supervisor Routinely Insulted and Demeaned African-Americans, Federal Agency Charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Ralph Jones Sheet Metal, Inc., an architectural sheet metal company located in Memphis, will pay $160,000 to former African-American employees to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that a white supervisor and other employees subjected African-American employees to racially offensive comments.  The EEOC charged that the supervisor regularly referred to African-American employees with the epithet “n----r” and used other slurs.  In addition, the EEOC charged that racial graffiti was on display in common areas and on company equipment.

Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit, No. 2:09-cv-02636, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to settle the matter through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, the 18-month consent decree settling the lawsuit provides for training on employee rights under Title VII, and requires Ralph Jones Sheet Metal to maintain records of racial harassment complaints, provide annual reports to the EEOC, and post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC’s contact information.

“Employees should not have to endure a racially hostile work environment as it is a violation of federal law,” said Faye Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office.  “It is appalling that racial harassment and the use of racial slurs remain so pervasive in today’s workplace.  The EEOC will continue to forcefully fight against this misconduct.”

According to company information, Ralph Jones Sheet Metal fabricates and installs architectural panels made from aluminum composite, copper and stainless steel.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.