The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-25-09

THE REDWOODS IN YOSEMITE SUED BY EEOC FOR UNLAWFUL TREATMENT OF HISPANIC EMPLOYEES

Latinos Forced to Endure Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation at Yosemite Vacation Homes, Federal Agency Charges

FRESNO, Calif. – The owner of The Redwoods in Yosemite vacation homes in Yosemite, Calif., violated federal law by subjecting a class of Latino employees to a pervasive hostile work environment based on their national origin and retaliating against employees for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

The EEOC's suit (EEOC v. Wawona Property Management, Incorporated, dba the Redwoods in Yosemite, et al, Case No. 09-CV-1693), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, charges that Wawona Property Management, Inc., subjected Latinos to disparate treatment and harassment that created a hostile work environment. This included Wawona's operations manager subjecting Latino employees to a higher standard of work performance; overly harsh scrutiny of their performance; disparate discipline; unannounced schedule changes; denial of benefits; constant verbal abuse; refusal to hire or re-hire; and failure to promote.

The EEOC said that the class members complained about the national origin harassment, but Wawona failed to assist them. Instead, the agency said, the harassment intensified and was accompanied by retaliatory conduct, including discipline, reduced work hours, and termination. Further, the EEOC says that Wawona retaliated against a management employee who attempted to end Wawona’s unlawful treatment of the Hispanic employees.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to harass employees based on national origin or any other protected basis. Title VII also prohibits an employer from retaliating against someone who complains about employment discrimination. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The agency seeks injunctive relief to end the discriminatory practices, plus back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages to compensate the victims for their monetary losses and emotional pain and suffering.

EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park noted, "National origin discrimination and retaliation should not be tolerated by any employer, anywhere. The Commission will vigorously enforce the laws to eliminate workplace discrimination."

Wawona provides vacation home rental management services at Yosemite National Park in California and employs approximately 100 individuals.

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


This page was last modified on September 25, 2009.

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