The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-16-09

STUART CLUB SUED BY EEOC FOR RACE DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION

Federal Agency Says Papermoon Harassed Black Employees and Retaliated Against Those Who Complained

MIAMI – Papermoon, an entertainment club, and related companies Papermoon-Stuart and Imaginary Images, violated federal law when they discriminated against employees on the basis of race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The EEOC says the companies discriminated against black employees and retaliated against those who complained.

According to EEOC’s suit, two black men who worked as doormen at Papermoon’s Stuart, Fla., location were subjected to racial harassment and forced out of their jobs because of race. The EEOC says company managers referred to black employees using offensive racial slurs, forced black employees to work in the back instead of at the club entrance, and complained that “black music makes the club look bad.” According to the suit, company managers did not stop the harassment and, instead, either forced out or fired those who complained.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (EEOC v. Papermoon-Stuart, Inc., Case No. 0:09-cv-14316-Martinez/Lynch) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“There is no longer any acceptance of racism against employees in any workplace covered by federal law, including the use of offensive racial slurs and forcing employees of a certain race to work out of sight,” said Jacqueline H. McNair, district director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “Any company that permits such misconduct to go unchecked risks serious legal consequences.”

The EEOC’s Miami acting regional attorney, Michael J. O’Brien, added, “Customer preference is no defense to the sort of conduct alleged here. All employees are entitled to work in an environment free from racial epithets and slurs. Those who complain about racial harassment should be protected, not punished.”

Papermoon is a Virginia-based gentlemen’s club that is currently operating six different locations in four different states.

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


This page was last modified on September 16, 2009.

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