The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Company Fired African American Housekeepers and Replaced Them With Hispanics, Federal Agency Charged

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – A Pinehurst, N.C.-based support services company for condo­minium complexes and resorts will pay $44,700 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a race and national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Little River Golf, Inc. unlawfully discharged six employees because of their race (African American) and national origin (non-Hispanic).

According to the EEOC, the discriminatory discharges occurred in September 2005, when Little River Golf operated a housekeeping service for condominiums in the Pinehurst area. The EEOC alleges that the company terminated Mary Wharton, Sharon Martin, Linda Bowden, Stefen Smith, Alex Martin and Kenneth Tillman under the guise of a layoff. After they were discharged, they were all immediately replaced by Hispanic workers. Little River no longer operates its house­keeping service.

Race and national origin discrimination violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

In addition to the $44,700 in monetary damages to be shared by the discharged employees, the consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Little River Golf, Inc., Case No. 1:08CV00546, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Rockingham Division) includes prospective injunctive relief, in the event Little River Golf commences operations in the future. The injunctive relief enjoins the company from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin or any other protected category, or engaging in retaliation within the meaning of Title VII. The decree also requires the adoption of an anti-discrimination policy; anti-discrimination training; the posting of a notice about the settlement; and reports to the EEOC.

“This case represents the unfortunate reality that some employers are willing to discriminate against one racial or cultural group in favor of another,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District office. “Employers must remember that people of all races and colors are entitled to equal treatment in the workplace. The EEOC will continue to prosecute cases like this.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available at its website at

This page was last modified on August 6, 2009.

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