The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-3-09

L&W SUPPLY CORP. TO PAY $49,500 FOR RACE BIAS

EEOC Said Company Supervisor Used Racial Slurs, Based Work Assignments on Race

PHOENIX – L&W Supply Corporation has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for nearly $50,000 and other relief on behalf of an African American employee who was subjected to discrimination based on race, the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC maintained in its suit that L&W Supply Corporation, which operated Coyote Building Materials, assigned African American employee Kevin Hamilton and his team member, Ricardo Lopez-Gonzales, to less desirable and lower-paying jobs because of Hamilton’s race. The EEOC charged that the L&W supervisor responsible for determining job assignments referred to Hamilton using racial slurs, including racial slurs in Spanish and use of the “N-word.”

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy or sexual harassment) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation. The EEOC filed suit (No. 07-CV-1364-PHX-JWS) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

“An employee’s race should not impact his paycheck,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, who oversaw the case. “In the current economy, the consequences of discriminatory pay decisions can be especially devastating.”

“The battle to eliminate race-based discrimination from the workplace is far from over,” said EEOC Phoenix Trial Attorney Valerie Meyer. “We still see egregious instances of racial bias at job sites across the country, as evidenced by this case and many others.”

In addition to paying $49,500, the EEOC settlement by consent decree requires L&W Supply Corporation to provide training and other relief aimed at educating its employees about race discrimination and their rights under Title VII.

Acting EEOC Phoenix District Director Rayford Irvin added, “It is the responsibility of every employer to make sure that its decisions about work assignments and pay are free of race discrimination.”

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 3, 2009.

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