The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-30-09

TESSCO SETTLES EEOC RACIAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT FOR $125,000

White Laborers Harassed by Hispanics on the Job, Federal Agency Charged

DALLAS – Total Electric and Supply Company, doing business as TESSCO, will pay $125,000 to three former employees to settle a racial and national origin harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. TESSCO is an energy and utility services company headquartered in Midland, Texas.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. MO-08-CV-130 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland-Odessa Division), TESSCO subjected three white, non-Hispanic employees to a hostile environment. The EEOC charged that the men were subjected to name calling and taunting in English and Spanish on the jobsite. They complained about the harassment, but no action was taken.

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.

“This case is an example of how traditional thoughts of the direction in which discrimination flows must be adapted to the realities of the changing demographics in the workplace,” said Robert Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas Office. “Here, it was a Hispanic supervisor and co-workers who subjected non-Hispanics to derogatory comments because of their race. Discrimination of this kind typically originates from a position of power, regardless of which group is the one in charge.”

The one-year consent decree resolving the suit, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Junell, provides that the company will require human resources staff and division heads at TESSCO, advising them of the requirements and prohibitions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. TESSCO also agreed to establish a 1-800-Hotline number for the reporting of complaints of misconduct that may constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation under Title VII.

"EEOC is pleased with this settlement," said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne Anderson. "The safeguards put into place in this consent decree should ensure that supervisors at TESSCO treat all of their employees appropriately and with respect."

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 30, 2009.

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