In enforcing Title VII's prohibition of race and color discrimination, the EEOC has filed, resolved, and adjudicated a number of cases since 1964. Under the E-RACE Initiative, the Commission continues to be focused on the eradication of race and color discrimination from the 21st century workplace and is seeking to retool its enforcement efforts to address contemporary forms of overt, subtle and implicit bias. Below is an inexhaustive list of significant EEOC private or federal sector cases from 2003 to present. These cases illustrate some of the common, novel, systemic and emerging issues in the realm of race and color discrimination.
In March 2015, a Texas-based oil and gas drilling company agreed to settle for $12.26 million the EEOC's lawsuit alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation against racial minorities nationwide. According to a complaint filed by the EEOC the same day as the proposed decree, Patterson-UTI had engaged in patterns or practices of hostile work environment harassment, disparate treatment discrimination and retaliation against Hispanic, Latino, Black, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander and other minority workers at its facilities in Colorado and other states. Under the proposed four-year consent decree, the drilling company also will create a new vice president position to be filled by a "qualified EEO professional" who will facilitate, monitor and report on the company's compliance with certain training, management evaluation, minority outreach, and other remedial measures. EEOC v. Patterson-UTI Drilling Co., No. 1:15-cv-00600 (D. Colo. consent decree filed Mar. 24, 2015).
In January 2015, Skanska USA Building, Inc., a building contractor headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., paid $95,000 to settle a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the EEOC. According to the EEOC's suit, Skanska violated federal law by allowing workers to subject a class of Black employees who were working as buck hoist operators to racial harassment, and by firing them for complaining to Skanska about the misconduct. Skanska served as the general contractor on the Methodist Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, where the incidents in this lawsuit took place. The class of Black employees worked for C-1, Inc. Construction Company, a minority-owned subcontractor for Skanska. Skanska awarded a subcontract to C-1 to provide buck hoist operations for the construction site and thereafter supervised all C-1 employees while at the work site. The EEOC charged that Skanska failed to properly investigate complaints from the buck hoist operators that white employees subjected them to racially offensive comments and physical assault. EEOC v. Shanska USA Building, Inc., No. 2:10-cv-02717 (W.D. Tenn. Jan. 29, 2015).
In December 2014, two Memphis-based affiliates of Select Staffing, employment companies doing business in Tennessee, agreed to pay $580,000 to settle allegations they engaged in race and national origin discrimination. The EEOC's lawsuit charged that the staffing firms had discriminated against four Black temporary employees and a class of Black and non-Hispanic job applicants by failing to place or refer them for employment. The four temporary employees said while seeking employment through the company's Memphis area facilities, they witnessed Hispanic applicants getting preferential treatment in hiring and placement. EEOC v. New Koosharem Corp., No. 2:13-cv-2761 (W.D. Tenn. consent decree filed Dec. 5, 2014).
In December 2014, three related well-servicing companies agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle allegations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of verbal abuse of minority employees. The EEOC complaint alleged that J&R employees regularly used racial slurs to refer to Black, Hispanic and Native American employees. Employees of these racial groups on company rigs regularly heard racist terms and demeaning remarks about green cards and deportation, the EEOC complaint said. Several individuals complained to management, but their complaints were minimized or ignored, the complaint alleged. For example, an area supervisor responded to employee complaints by telling the complainants they could quit or by saying that he was sick of everyone coming to him and that everyone simply needed to do their jobs. In addition, the complaint stated that several men were demoted or fired after taking their complaints of discrimination to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services' Labor Standards Division. EEOC v. Dart Energy Corp., No. 13-cv-00198 (D. Wyo. consent decree filed Dec. 1, 2014).
In November 2014, a Rockville, Md.-based environmental remediation services contractor paid $415,000 and provide various other relief to settle a class lawsuit alleging that the company engaged in a pattern or practice of race and sex discrimination in its recruitment and hiring of field laborers. Under a three-year consent decree signed Nov. 10 by Judge Paul W. Grimm of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, ACM Services Inc. will pay a combined $110,000 to the two Hispanic female workers who first brought the allegations to the EEOC's attention and will establish a class fund of $305,000 for other potential claimants to be identified by the agency. According to the EEOC, the company has relied exclusively on "word-of-mouth recruitment practices" for field laborer positions, with the intent and effect of restricting the recruitment of Black and female applicants. ACM also subjected the two charging parties to harassment based on sex, national origin and race, and it retaliated against them for opposing the mistreatment-and against one of them based on her association with Black people-by firing them, the commission alleged. The agreement applies to all ACM facilities and locations nationwide and has extra-territorial application to the extent permitted by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In addition to the monetary relief, the decree requires the company to set numerical hiring goals for its field laborer positions, recruit Black and female applicants via print and Internet advertisements and report to the EEOC regarding its attainment of the numerical hiring goals and other settlement terms. EEOC v. ACM Servs., Inc., No. 8:14-cv-02997 (D. Md. consent decree filed Nov. 10, 2014).
In November 2014, Battaglia Distributing Corporation paid $735,000 to a group of current and former African-American employees. In this case, the EEOC alleged that the Battaglia tolerated an egregious race-based hostile work environment, requiring African-American dock workers to endure harassment that included racial slurs (including the "N" word). Among other relief provided under the decree, Battaglia also will provide its managers with training on Title VII and report regularly to the EEOC on any complaints it has received, as well as provide other data to demonstrate that it has not retaliated against any of the participants in the litigation. EEOC v. Battaglia Distrib. Corp., No. 13-cv-5789 (N.D. Ill. consent decree entered Nov. 10, 2014).
In October 2014, Prestige Transportation Service L.L.C., a Miami company that provides transportation services to airline personnel to and from Miami International Airport, paid $200,000 to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, in connection with actions allegedly committed under different ownership. The EEOC charged in its suit that Prestige's predecessor company, Airbus Alliance Inc., repeatedly instructed its human resource manager to not hire African-American applicants because they were "trouble" and "would sue the company." EEOC v. Prestige Transp. Service L.L.C., No. 1:13-cv-20684(JEM) (S.D. Fla. consent decree filed Sept. 26, 2014).
In September 2014, McCormick & Schmick's settled a 2008 EEOC lawsuit, alleging a pattern or practice of race discrimination against African-American job applicants by refusing to hire them for front-of-the-house positions and by denying equal work assignments because of their race. The consent decree established a claims fund of $1.3 million and provides substantial injunctive relief, including goals for hiring of Black job applicants for front-of-the-house positions, targeted recruitment efforts, and extensive self-assessment of hiring and work assignment practices to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the terms of the consent decree. McCormick & Schmick's also must designate an outside monitor to oversee compliance with the consent decree and submit reports to the EEOC. EEOC v. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, Inc. and McCormick and Schmick Restaurant Corporation, No. WMN-09-cv-984 (D. Md. Sep. 12, 2014).
In September 2013, U-Haul agreed to pay $750,000 to eight African-American current and former employees and to provide other relief to settle a race and retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. According to the EEOC's suit, Black employees were subjected to racial slurs and other racially offensive comments by their White supervisor, at U-Haul's Memphis facility. The EEOC's complaint charged that the supervisor regularly referred to Black employees with the "N" word and other derogatory slurs. The suit further alleged that the company engaged in retaliation by firing one employee when he complained of racial harassment to the company president. Under the two-year consent decree, U-Haul Company of Tennessee must maintain an anti-discrimination policy prohibiting race discrimination, racial harassment, and retaliation, and provide mandatory training to all employees regarding the policy. Additionally, the marketing company president will receive training on race discrimination and on obligations to report race discrimination, racial harassment, and retaliation. Finally, the company will provide written reports to the EEOC regarding any race discrimination or racial harassment complaints by employees. EEOC v. U-Haul Co. Int'l & U-Haul Co. of Tenn., No. 2:11-cv-02844 (W.D. Tenn. Sep. 25, 2013).
In September 2013, a Kentucky coal mining company paid $245,000 to 19 total applicants and amend its hiring practices to settle a racial discrimination suit brought by the EEOC. River View Coal LLC, a unit of Alliance Resource Partners LP, also will have to regularly report to the EEOC on its hiring practices for two years to escape the suit, which alleged that the company refused to hire a class of African-American applicants for coal mining jobs at its Waverly, Ky., location since 2008. The consent decree also requires River View to refrain from any future racial discrimination in its hiring procedures. EEOC v. River View Coal, LLC, No. 4:11-cv-00117(JHM)(HBB) (W.D. Ky. Sep. 26, 2013).
In December 2012, a South Dallas, TX mill agreed to pay $500,000 to a class of 14 Black employees to settle an EEOC race discrimination suit alleging that the mill exposed Black employees to violent, racist graffiti and racial slurs by co-workers, such as "KKK," swastikas, Confederate flags, "white power" and other racist terms, including "die, n----r, die," as well as the display of nooses at an employee workstation. Black employees alleged that the supervisors allowed the behavior to continue unchecked. The consent decree permanently enjoins the company from discriminating against employees on the basis of race and requires the company to enact a graffiti abatement policy and undergo annual reviews of its compliance for two years EEOC v. Rock-Tenn Services Co., No. 3:10-cv-01960 (N.D. Tex. filed Sep. 29, 2012).
In November 2012, a federal court ordered Caldwell Freight Lines, a now defunct company, to pay $120,000 to settle a race discrimination complaint stemming from its alleged refusal to hire Black applicants to work on its loading dock even though it is no longer in business. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, 51 African American applicants sought work with Caldwell Freight and none was hired even though many had previous dock experience and were qualified for the positions. An EEOC investigation revealed that the company hired no Black dock workers during the period studied and that one high-level manager allegedly said he "didn't want any [B]lacks on the dock." Under the terms of the consent decree, if the company resumes operations, it will have to implement an anti-discrimination policy and report to the EEOC all discrimination complaints and information regarding its hiring practices during the term of the decree. EEOC v. Caldwell Freight Lines, Case No. 5:11CV00134 (W.D.N.C. Aug. 3, 2012).
In October 2012, a federal district court in Texas ordered AA Foundries Inc. to take specific measures to prevent racial harassment of Black employees at its San Antonio plant following a $200,000 jury verdict finding the company liable for race discrimination under Title VII. According to the EEOC, evidence at trial indicated that a White supervisor used "the N word" in reference to Black employees, called male Black employees "motherfucking boys," posted racially tinged materials in an employee break room, and accused Black employees of "always stealing and wanting welfare." After several employees filed racial harassment charges with the EEOC, a noose was displayed in the workplace. When some employees complained, the supervisor allegedly replied the noose was "no big deal" and that workers who complained were "too sensitive." Additionally, at trial, he also admitted it did not bother him to hear racially derogatory language in the workplace. In a judgment entered Oct. 9, the district court upheld the jury verdict that AA Foundries must pay punitive damages of $100,000 to former employee Christopher Strickland, $60,000 to former employee Leroy Beal, and $40,000 to former employee Kenneth Bacon. Because trial evidence also showed that AA Foundries lacked effective internal procedures to handle discrimination complaints, it must conduct at least one hour of equal employment opportunity training for all employees within 60 days of the court's Oct. 9 order. The company must distribute copies of its revised written anti-harassment policy to all current and future employees and post the policy in the break room of its San Antonio manufacturing facility. Every employee shall be notified of the procedure for initiating racial harassment or other bias complaints, including notice of their right to file EEOC charges if the company does not resolve their complaint. EEOC v. AA Foundries Inc., No. 11-792 (W.D. Tex. judgment and injunction entered Oct. 9, 2012).
In September 2012, two California-based trucking firms agreed to settle for $630,000 an EEOC lawsuit alleging one company violated Title VII by permitting the harassment of African American, Latino, and East Indian workers and by otherwise discriminating based on race, national origin, and religion. In its original complaint, EEOC alleged that since at least 2003, management officials and employees at Scully Distribution referred to Black drivers as "niggers," East Indian drivers as "Taliban" and "camel jockeys," and a Latino manager as a "spic." EEOC also charged Scully gave non-White drivers less favorable job assignments than their White counterparts. EEOC claimed Scully also fired one of the three employees who filed EEOC charges complaining about the alleged harassment in retaliation for his protected activity. Scully denied all of EEOC's allegations, but it and its successor Ryder System Inc. agreed to resolve the suit. EEOC v. Scully Distribution Servs. Inc., No. 11-cv-08090 (C.D. Cal. proposed consent decree filed Sep. 25, 2012).
In August 2012, a Tampa, Fla.-based environmental services company agreed to settle a race discrimination and harassment case brought by the EEOC and eleven intervening plaintiffs for $2,750,000 and other relief. In the lawsuit, EEOC alleged that the harassment of African American employees included multiple displays of nooses, the repeated use of the "N-word," and physical threats. The EEOC also claimed that four White employees were harassed by their White co-workers because they associated with African-American employees. Two African-American employees also alleged they were fired because of their race and two White employees asserted they were fired for engaging in protected activity and in retaliation for associating with African-American employees. At summary judgment, the district court denied in part the company's motion, stating that the company ignored both the extreme symbolism of a noose and that a reasonable jury could conclude that the worksite had at least some racial tension given the other nooses, threats, and racial epithets that each African-American employee experienced, and that the noose was intended to intimidate all African-Americans. The court also found that a reasonable jury could decide that Defendant failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent or remedy the harassment since it did not distribute its written policy forbidding racial harassment to its employees, post it at the job-site, or train the employees about what constitutes harassment and how to report it. The court, however, determined that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment on the hostile work environment claims brought on behalf of the White employees because injury must be personal and thus a White employee cannot sue for harassment of African-American employees that the White employee happened to see. Lastly, intervening Plaintiff provided direct evidence that the supervisor who fired him did so because of his race (through the supervisor's comment that he could get rid of "that . . . nigger. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110149 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 27, 2011). Although the company denied liability for the harassment, the three-year consent decree enjoins the company from engaging in further retaliation, race discrimination, or racial harassment, including associational bias. The company also must revise its anti-discrimination policy; provide employee training on the revised policy; and develop a procedure for investigating complaints of race discrimination and harassment and evaluating supervisors' compliance with the revised anti-discrimination policy. EEOC v. WRS Infrastructure and Env't Inc. d/b/a WRS Compass, No. 1:09-cv-4272 (N.D. Ill. consent decree filed Aug. 23, 2012).
In June 2012, Yellow Transportation Inc. and YRC Inc. agreed to settle for $11 million an EEOC suit alleging that the trucking companies permitted the racial harassment of Black employees at a now-closed Chicago Ridge, Ill., facility. The proposed consent decree would settle both EEOC's suit and a private suit filed in 2008 by 14 Black employees under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. § 1981), which were consolidated for purposes of settlement. In its complaint, the EEOC claimed that Black employees at the Chicago Ridge facility, which closed in 2009, were subjected to multiple incidents of hangman's nooses and racist graffiti, comments, and cartoons. EEOC claimed that Yellow and YRC also subjected Black employees to harsher discipline and closer scrutiny than their White counterparts and gave Black employees more difficult and time-consuming work assignments. Although numerous Black employees complained about these conditions, Yellow and YRC failed to act to correct the problems, EEOC alleged. The court granted preliminary approval of a proposed consent decree, but it must grant final approval following a fairness hearing before the decree takes effect. EEOC v. Yellow Transp. Inc., No. 09 CV 7693 (N.D. Ill. preliminary approval granted June 28, 2012).
In January 2012, Pepsi Beverages Company, formerly known as Pepsi Bottling Group, agreed in a post-investigation conciliation to pay $3.13 million and provide training and job offers to victims of the former criminal background check policy to resolve an EEOC charge alleging race discrimination in hiring. "The EEOC's investigation revealed that more than 300 African Americans were adversely affected when Pepsi applied a criminal background check policy that disproportionately excluded Black applicants from permanent employment. Under Pepsi's former policy, job applicants who had been arrested pending prosecution were not hired for a permanent job even if they had never been convicted of any offense." Additionally, "Pepsi's former policy also denied employment to applicants from employment who had been arrested or convicted of certain minor offenses. The use of arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when it is not relevant for the job, because it can limit the employment opportunities of applicants or workers based on their race or ethnicity."
In December 2011, a New York City retail-wholesale fish market agreed to pay $900,000 and institute anti-discrimination measures to settle an EEOC lawsuit charging it with creating a hostile work environment for Black and African male employees. The lawsuit alleged that management at the company's Brooklyn facility routinely subjected more than 30 Black and African male loaders and drivers to sexual and racial harassment and retaliated against employees who complained. The harassment was both physical and verbal and included offensive comments based on race and national origin such as "nigger" and "African bastard" as well as explicit sexual expressions. The Commission also alleged that the company engaged in retaliation against workers who joined in the complaint. In addition to the monetary relief, M. Slavin agreed to submit to 5 years of monitoring by the EEOC; retain an independent EEO coordinator to investigate complaints; conduct one-on-one training for the worst harassers; and provide annual training for all staff. EEOC v. M. Slavin & Sons Ltd., No. 09-5330 (E.D.N.Y. filed consent decree 12/15/11).
In April 2015, a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a claim of racial discrimination in hiring against Rosebud Restaurants, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. In its complaint, the EEOC charged that the Chicago-area Italian restaurant chain violated federal civil rights laws by refusing to hire African-Americans because of their race. The company's motion to dismiss argued that the EEOC's complaint should be dismissed because it did not identify the victims of the alleged hiring discrimination. the court rejected that argument, concluding that the EEOC's "allegations of intentional discrimination are sufficient to state a claim for Title VII relief . . . even in the absence of the identification of an individual job applicant who was rejected because of his race." EEOC v. Rosebud Restaurants, Inc., Civil Action No. 13-cv-6656 (N.D. Ill. decision filed Apr. 7, 2015).
In September 2014, the EEOC appealed the dismissal of its race discrimination complaints alleging that an employer's withdrawal of a job offer from a qualified Black applicant because she refused to cut off her dreadlocks constituted race discrimination under Title VII. On the appeal, the Commission contends that the district court improperly dismissed its original and amended complaints because they stated plausible claims of intentional discrimination. Specifically, the Commission argued that the employer's application of its grooming policy to prohibit dreadlocks discriminates on the immutable trait of racial hair texture, violates the fundamental right to freedom of racial expression, and promotes unlawful racial stereotyping. EEOC v. Catastrophe Mgmt. Solutions, No. 14-13482 (11th Cir. Brief filed Sept. 22, 2014).
In June 2013, the EEOC and J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. settled a race discrimination charge alleging the nationwide transportation company engaged in unlawful race discrimination by rejecting a Black truck driver applicant because of a prior criminal conviction unrelated to his prospective job duties. The settlement follows conciliation of an EEOC charge under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act over claims that an African-American job candidate was denied a truck driver position at a J.B. Hunt facility in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2009 based on a criminal conviction record, which the EEOC contends was unrelated to the duties of the job. The federal agency also reviewed the company's broader policy with respect to the hiring of job applicants with conviction records. Blanket prohibitions are not in accordance with the agency's policy guidance on the subject, which was reissued on April 25, 2010. The EEOC's guidance recommends evaluating: the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and the nature of the job sought prior to disqualifying a candidate with such a record. J.B. Hunt also reached a private settlement with the alleged discrimination victim, who filed an EEOC charge after being denied a job at J.B. Hunt's San Bernardino, Calif., facility in 2009. As part of a five-year conciliation agreement, J.B. Hunt agreed to review and, if necessary, revise its hiring and selection policies to comply with EEOC's April 2012 enforcement guidance regarding employers' use of arrest and conviction records. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the conciliation agreement. The EEOC entered into a pre-suit conciliation agreement.
In November 2012, Alliant Techsystems Inc. paid $100,000 to settle an EEOC suit alleging that the company violated Title VII when it refused to hire an African-American woman for a technical support job at its offices in Edina because of her race. According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim applied and was interviewed several times for the job in May 2007. After the first interview, the recruiter allegedly advised her to take out her braids to appear more professional. She did so and purportedly was later told by the recruiter that Alliant wanted to hire her and that she would be contacted by the company's Human Resources Department. However, by the time she met with the company's information technology director, she had put her braids back in. The next day, she was informed that she would not be hired. In June 2007, the company hired a White male for the IT job. The 3-year consent decree, which applies to the company's headquarters in Minnesota and Virginia, enjoins Alliant from further discriminating in hiring based on race and from retaliating against persons who oppose practices made unlawful under Title VII. Additionally, the company will review its workplace policies to assure that they comply with Title VII and will train its entire staff on the laws against discrimination. EEOC v. Alliant Techsystems Inc., Case No. 0:11-cv-02785-DSD-JJG (D. Minn. consent decree filed Nov. 20, 2012).
In April 2012, Bankers Asset Management Inc. agreed to pay $600,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging that the real estate company excluded Black applicants from jobs at the company's Little Rock location based on their race. The firm also allegedly retaliated against other employees and former employees for opposing or testifying about the race discrimination by demoting and forcing one worker out of her job and by suing others in state court. In addition to paying $600,000, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit also requires Bankers Asset Management to hold a mandatory, annual three-hour training on race discrimination and retaliation in which its president or another officer participates, among other provisions. EEOC v. Bankers Asset Mgmt. Inc., Civil Action No. 4:10-CV-002070-SWW (E.D. Ark.Apr. 18, 2012).
In February 2012, the owners of Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in Hartsville and Lafayette, Tenn., agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a race and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. In its lawsuit, the EEOC asserted that the Piggly Wiggly locations owned by MWR Enterprises Inc. II violated federal law by maintaining policies and practices that intentionally failed to hire African-Americans because of their race for positions at the company's Piggly Wiggly store in Hartsville and Lafayette. The EEOC further charged that the company maintained a segregated work force and an established practice of not hiring males for cashier positions at the same locations. The four-year consent decree also requires Defendant MWR Enterprises Inc., II, to establish a written policy which provides that all job assignments will be made without consideration to gender; establish guidelines and procedures for processing employment applications; provide Title VII training on race and gender discrimination to its managers; meet recordkeeping and reporting requirements; and post a notice about the lawsuit and settlement at its store locations. EEOC v. MWR Enterprises Inc., II, C.A. No. 3:10-cv-00901 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 23, 2012).
In January 2012, a Johnson City, N.Y -based cleaning company agreed to pay $450,000 to 15 former employees to settle a hiring discrimination and retaliation case. According to an EEOC lawsuit filed in September 2011 in a federal court in Pennsylvania, the executives of the cleaning company prohibited a White supervisor from hiring Black employees for a client in Concordsville, PA. The supervisor continued to hire qualified Black workers, and later was fired for defying her managers' instructions. The EEOC also alleged that the company forced Black workers at the Concordville worksite to sit in the back of the cafeteria during breaks, and ultimately barred them from the cafeteria altogether The company later fired the entire crew, replacing them with all non-Black workers. The EEOC filed a lawsuit seeking relief for the terminated supervisor and Black employees. In addition to the monetary relief, the company agreed to providing EEO training for its managers and supervisors the company and to submit a follow-up report on remedial measures being taken at the Concordville worksite. EEOC v. Matrix L.L.C., Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-06183 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 6, 2012).
In January 2012, a marine construction and transportation company located in Dyersburg, Tenn., will pay an African-American job applicant $75,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the company refused to hire a Black job applicant for a deckhand position because of his race in violation of Title VII. In addition to the monetary relief, a three-year consent decree requires the company to use its best efforts to fill up to 25 percent of available positions with African-Americans. Choctaw has also been ordered to maintain records of discrimination complaints, provide annual reports to the EEOC, and post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC's contact information. EEOC v. Choctaw Transp. Co., Inc., 1:10-cv-01248-JDB-egb (W.D. Tenn. Jan. 19, 2012).
In September 2011, the EEOC filed suit against Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, alleging that the nationwide retailer of sporting goods, apparel, and other miscellaneous products has been discriminating in its hiring since at least November 2005. The EEOC's suit alleged that qualified African-Americans and Hispanics were routinely denied retail positions such as cashier, sales associate, team leader, supervisor, manager and other positions at many Bass Pro stores nationwide and that managers at Bass Pro stores in the Houston area, in Louisiana, and elsewhere made overtly racially derogatory remarks acknowledging the discriminatory practices, including that hiring Black candidates did not fit the corporate profile. The lawsuit also claims that Bass Pro punished employees who opposed the company's unlawful practices, in some instances firing them or forcing them to resign. EEOC v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Civil Action No. 4:11-cv-03425 (S.D. Tex. Sep. 21, 2011).
In September 2013, Hurley Medical Center entered into a 5-year agreement with the EEOC to settle its lawsuit alleging that a White father reportedly demanded no African-American nurses treat his newborn baby. Four nurses filed discrimination lawsuits after a Hurley staff member allegedly posted a note with the father's instructions. Pursuant to the agreement, the EEOC will conduct non-discrimination training for all Hurley staff each year and will examine any progress made to see if more needs to be done. Hurley also agreed to pay about $200,000 in March to settle a lawsuit filed by three nurses. Hurley also agreed to pay about $200,000 in March to settle a lawsuit filed by three nurses. "In the Matter of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Tonya Battle, Charging Party, and Hurley Medical Center, Respondent," Detroit Field Office, September 26, 2013. See also Resolution Agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and Hurley Medical Center, 13-156114, (July 31, 2014 available at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/activities/agreements/hurley.html).
In July 2014, EEOC filed a lawsuit against AutoZone alleging the company unjustly fired a Chicago man for refusing to be transferred because of his race. The complaint alleges that AutoZone attempted in 2012 to redistribute the non-Hispanic workers at its auto parts retail location at S. Kedzie Ave and W. 49th Street in Gage Park. The EEOC claims that the company wanted to broaden the number of Hispanics at the store to better reflect its customer base. The EEOC said that when an African American sales manager was allegedly told to report to another store on the far South Side, he was fired for refusing the transfer. EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., No. 1:14cv5579 (7th Cir. complaint filed July 22, 2014).
In December 2012, Hamilton Growers, Inc., doing business as Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, Inc., an agricultural farm in Norman Park, Ga., agreed to pay $500,000 to a class of American seasonal workers - many of them African-American - who, the EEOC alleged, were subjected to discrimination based on their national origin and/or race, the agency announced today. The agreement resolves a lawsuit filed by the EEOC in September 2011. The EEOC's suit had charged that the company unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against American workers by firing virtually all American workers while retaining workers from Mexico during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. The agency also alleged that Hamilton Growers fired at least 16 African-American workers in 2009 based on race and/or national origin as their termination was coupled with race-based comments by a management official. Additionally, the lawsuit charged that Hamilton Growers provided lesser job opportunities to American workers by assigning them to pick vegetables in fields which had already been picked by foreign workers, which resulted in Americans earning less pay than their Mexican counterparts. EEOC v. Hamilton Growers, Inc., No. 7:11-cv-134 (M.D. Ga. Consent decree entered Dec. 10, 2012).
In December 2012, EEOC and a North Carolina printing firm settled for $334,000 a lawsuit alleging the firm violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by not placing non-Hispanic workers in its "core group" of regular temporary workers who perform the company's light bindery production jobs and giving disproportionately more work hours to Hispanic workers. Under the proposed two-year consent decree, PBM Graphics Inc. would place the settlement funds in escrow for distribution later among non-Hispanic workers identified by EEOC as victims of the alleged national origin discrimination. EEOC v. PBM Graphics Inc., No. 11-805 (M.D.N.C. proposed consent decree filed 12/10/12).
In October 2012, a Hampton Inn franchise in Craig, Colorado agreed to pay $85,000 to resolve a race and national origin discrimination lawsuit regarding the terminations of three Caucasian and non-Latino employees. According to the lawsuit, the general manager of the hotel allegedly was told by the business owners "to hire more qualified maids, and that they preferred maids to be Hispanic because in their opinion Hispanics worked harder" and that White or non-Hispanic workers were indolent. EEOC v. Century Shree Corp. & Century Rama Inc., Case No. 11-cv-2558-REB-CBS (D. Colo. Oct. 2, 2012).
In September 2012, an Indianapolis hotel agreed to pay $355,000 to settle a job discrimination case with the EEOC. The Hampton Inn is accused of firing Black housekeepers because of their race and retaliating against those who had complained. According to the EEOC, the general manager of the Hampton Inn hotel advised her employees that she wanted to get "Mexicans" in who would clean better and complain less than her black housekeeping staff, even if the Hispanic hires were equally or less qualified than Black candidates. In addition to the monetary relief, the hotel must offer three of those employees their next available housekeeping positions and train any employees involved in the hiring process. EEOC v. New Indianapolis Hotels, Inc., Case No. 1:10-cv-1234 (S.D. Ind. Sep. 21, 2010).
In June 2013, the largest and oldest adult entertainment strip club in Jackson, MS paid $50,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against Black dancers when it maintained schedules only for Black women and forced them to compete for dancing slots on the "Black shift." The lawsuit also alleged that the club retaliated against the Black dancers after one of them filed a complaint with the EEOC, allegedly by reducing their work hours and subjecting them to fines, forcing one of them to quit. Under the consent decree, the club will implement new policies and practices designed to prevent racial discrimination and retaliation. It also will conduct supervisor and employee training on discrimination and retaliation laws and establish a confidential process for people to submit discrimination and retaliation complaints. The process will include employer protections of non-retaliation and requirements for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation. EEOC officials said Danny's will also post notices at the work site, including EEOC on new allegations of race discrimination and retaliation during the two-year period. EEOC v. Danny's Cabaret, No. 3:10-cv-00681 (S.D. Miss. consent decree filed June 28, 2013). In May 2013, the EEOC sued Clarksdale's Stone Pony Pizza, alleging that the pizza place maintains a racially segregated workforce, and that it "hired only whites for front-of-the-house positions such as server, hostess, waitress, and bartender, and hired African-Americans for back-of-the-house positions such as cook and dishwasher." EEOC v. Stone Pony Pizza, Inc., No. 4:13-cv-92(SA)(JMV) (N.D. Miss. reopened after dismissal due to bankruptcy Mar. 30, 2015).
In July 2014, the apprenticeship school affiliated with a New Jersey construction trade union will pay $34,500 and provide substantial remedial relief to settle a discrimination claim by the EEOC, alleging that the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of Sheet Metal Workers Local 25 discharged a Black apprentice because of his race just two weeks before he was to graduate from the four-year apprenticeship program. The EEOC's findings arose from its investigation of the apprentice's appeal of his dismissal, which he filed with the court-appointed special master who monitors Local 25 and its JATC pursuant to past judicial findings of race and national origin discrimination. According to the EEOC, the JATC violated the court's previous orders by summarily discharging the apprentice for alleged poor performance just days before he was to complete the program and be promoted to journeyman status. The JATC imposed this severe sanction despite the apprentice satisfactorily completing virtually the entire eight-term program and despite his complaints about inadequate on-the-job training from biased contractors. EEOC v. Day & Zimmerman NPS, Inc., No. 1:71-cv-02877(LAK)(MHD) (S.D.N.Y. consent decree filed July 11, 2014).
In August 2011, an Obion County producer of pork sausage products paid $60,000 and furnished other relief to settle a wage discrimination and racial harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC. In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that near Union City violated federal law by paying an African-American maintenance worker less than White counterparts and subjecting him to a hostile work environment. The EEOC asserted that Williams Country Sausage gave raises and paid higher salaries to all maintenance department employees except the department's lone African-American employee and allegedly allowed a supervisor to regularly use racially offensive language toward the employee because of racial animus. The five-year consent decree enjoins the sausage company from engaging in future race discrimination, and requires annual Title VII training on employee rights, record-keeping of racial harassment complaints, and annual reports to the EEOC. The decree also requires the company to establish and enforce a written policy that will ensure that employees are protected from discrimination. EEOC v. Williams Country Sausage, Civil Action No. 1:10-CV-01263 (W.D. Tenn. Aug. 11, 2011).
In April 2011, the EEOC and a Bedford, Ohio, auto dealership reached a $300,000 settlement of a case alleging that the dealership permitted a general manager to harass Black employees and also discriminated against Black sales employees with regard to pay. EEOC v. Ganley Lincoln of Bedford Inc., No. 1:07-cv-2829 (N.D. Ohio consent decree entered Apr. 19, 2011).
In January 2015, Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, a Bishopville, S.C. based metal finishing company, paid $40,000 and furnished significant remedial relief to settle a race harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC. According to the EEOC's complaint, a Black powder coater at the Bishopville plant was repeatedly subjected to racial slurs by two White employees. The comments included repeated use of the "N-word." The Black employee allegedly complained to company management, but the harassment continued. Within hours of his final complaint, the coater was fired, allegedly in retaliation for his complaints of racial harassment. In addition to paying $40,000 in monetary relief, the company must abide by the terms of a two-year consent decree resolving the case. The consent decree enjoins Carolina Metal from engaging in future racial discrimination. The decree also requires the company to conduct anti-discrimination training at its Bishopville facility; post a notice about the settlement at that facility; implement a formal anti-discriminatory policy prohibiting racial discrimination; and report certain complaints of conduct that could constitute discrimination under Title VII to the EEOC for monitoring. EEOC v. Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, No. 3:14-cv-03815 (D.S.C. Jan. 8, 2015).
In December 2014, Swissport Fueling, Inc., which fuels aircraft at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, paid $250,000 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit for race and national origin harassment filed by the EEOC. The EEOC's lawsuit was brought to obtain relief for fuelers who were from various African nations, including Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. The lawsuit alleged that a Swissport manager routinely called the African fuelers "monkeys" in various degrading ways. A manager also made demeaning references to slavery to the fuelers, such as telling them: "You guys are lucky I pay you because way back then, you did not get paid"; "You are lucky to be paid. A long time ago Blacks were doing this for free"; "At one time, you people would not be paid"; and "Blacks work for free." EEOC alleged that the African fuelers reported the harassment verbally and in writing, including by signing a written petition and delivering it to the office of Swissport's general manager at the Phoenix facility to try to stop the harassment, but the abuse continued. EEOC v. Swissport Fueling, Inc., No. 2:10-cv-02101(GMS) (D. Ariz. Nov. 25, 2014).
In August 2014, a Thomasville mattress company agreed to pay a combined $42,000 to two Black former workers to settle an EEOC complaint that alleged they were unlawfully fired. The complaint alleged that they complained to the company about racial comments that included the "N-word" made by a White employee between June and August 2012, but the harassment continued. The three-year settlement includes the company's agreement to not permit or maintain a hostile work environment based on race, not to discriminate or retaliate against any employees because of opposition to any unlawful practice, a posting of procedures for reporting discrimination and harassment, the submission of a report to EEOC regarding internal discrimination and harassment complaints, and the provision of a neutral letter of reference that states one of the affected employees left employment because he was laid off. EEOC v. Carolina Mattress Guild Inc., No. 1:13-cv-00706 (M.D.N.C. consent decree entered Aug. 1, 2014).
In March 2014, Titan Waste Services, Inc., a Milton, Fla., waste disposal and recycling company, was ordered to pay $228,603 for violating federal law by harassing and then firing a truck driver because of his race. According to the EEOC's suit, Titan's highest-level managers subjected its sole Black driver, Michael Brooks, to discriminatory treatment during his employment, including assigning White drivers more favorable routes, requiring Brooks to perform degrading and unsafe work assignments. Brooks was also subjected to harassment such as racial slurs and racially derogatory insults, taunting and racial stereotypes, including the use of the "N-word." According to the EEOC, shortly before the 2008 presidential election, Titan's facility manager terminated Brooks without cause after discussing the upcoming election with him. After Titan's attorney withdrew from the case, the court found Titan did not continue to assert its defenses and ignored several orders of the court, displaying a reckless and willful disregard for the judicial proceedings. As a result, a default judgment was entered by U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, based upon evidence submitted by the EEOC and Titan was ordered to pay lost wages and other damages suffered by Brooks. EEOC v. Titan Waste Services, Inc., No. 3:10-cv-00379 (N.D. Fla. Mar. 10, 2014).
In March 2014, Olympia Construction, Inc. paid $100,000 jointly to three former employees to resolve a race harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC's lawsuit charged that Olympia subjected Adrian Soles, Anthony Moorer and George McWilliams to racial slurs and intimidation. The agency also said that Olympia terminated the victims because they complained to the EEOC. EEOC v. Olympia Constr., No. 2:13-cv-155 (S.D. Ala. Feb. 27, 2014).
In June 2013, a national food distributor paid $15,000 in compensatory damages to three former employees to resolve an EEOC race discrimination lawsuit alleging that its Mason City warehouse failed for months to remove racist graffiti in a men's restroom that included a swastika and references to the Ku Klux Klan, despite complaints from an African-American employee. Specifically, an African-American employee complained to management that he had seen graffiti reading "N*****s STINK" in a men's restroom. The EEOC alleged that the distributor's supervisors, including the Black employee's supervisor, used that restroom, yet the racist message remained for 30 days after he complained. The EEOC's suit also alleged that, about a week after the distributor finally removed the graffiti, a second message appeared, this time stating "KKK I hate N*****s." The EEOC alleged that this second message remained visible for over three months after the employee alerted the EEOC to the situation. In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree requires the company will repaint the restrooms and train employees on race discrimination within 45 days. EEOC v. MBM Corp., No. 3:12-cv-3069(LTS) (N.D. Iowa consent decree granted June 24, 2013).
In May 2013, a Tyler, Texas-based petroleum and gas industry equipment provider paid $150,000 and furnished other relief to settle an EEOC racial harassment and retaliation suit. According to the EEOC's suit, an African-American employee of Torqued-Up assigned to a field crew in South Texas experienced racial harassment in the form of racial slurs and epithets from two employees who supervised him on the job. According to the EEOC, the employee, who had 30 years of experience in the oil industry, reported the racial harassment to Torqued-Up's management, but instead of putting a stop to it, the company unlawfully retaliated against him. The punishment included removing the man from his crew and assigning him to perform menial tasks such as washing trucks and sweeping, rather than the oil field work that he had been hired to perform, and reducing his work hours, thereby reducing his income. EEOC v. Torqued-Up Energy Services, Inc., No. 6:12-cv-00051 (S.D. Tex. May 28, 2013).
In April 2013, a Utah construction company paid three former employees $230,000 and improved its future employment practices to settle an EEOC race harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The EEOC filed suit against the company in September 2010, charging that the company subjected Antonio and Joby Bratcher and a class of African-American employees to racial harassment and retaliation. In a ruling last year, Judge Dale A. Kimball found that the Bratchers and class member James Buie were subjected to an objectively hostile work environment based on race. The court observed that the site superintendent, Paul E. Facer, referred to the African-American employees as "n----rs" or a variation of that word almost every time he spoke to them. Other Holmes employees used the term "n----r-rigging" while working there, and racist graffiti was evident both inside and outside portable toilets on the work site. In addition to the monetary relief, Holmes also committed to implement several affirmative steps to prevent and address race-based conduct on the worksite. These measures include: a comprehensive training regimen on discrimination (including racial discrimination and harassment); discussions of harassment in work site meetings on a monthly basis; the provision of an external ombudsman to receive and investigate complaints of discrimination or retaliation; and a detailed review and revision of Holmes' policies and procedures concerning protected-class discrimination and retaliation. EEOC v. Holmes & Holmes Industrial, Inc., No. 2:10-CV-955 (D. Utah consent decree filed Apr. 12, 2013).
In March 2013, EEOC and Day & Zimmerman NPS, a leading supplier of maintenance, labor, and construction services to the power industry, filed a consent decree resolving EEOC's claims that Day & Zimmerman violated federal law by creating a hostile work environment for an African-American laborer for $190,000. In the lawsuit, EEOC alleged that Day & Zimmerman, through its foreman at the Poletti Power Plant in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., had subjected Carlos Hughes to physical and verbal racial harassment that included racial insults and derogatory stories referring to African Americans as stupid and incompetent, as well as frequently tripping Hughes, and once kicking him in the buttocks. The foreman also told racist jokes in the workplace, and made negative comments about African Americans; including that Sean Bell (shot by the police at a nightclub) deserved to be shot, and threatened that candidate Barack Obama would be shot before the country allowed a Black president. EEOC alleged that Hughes complained to management many times for more than a year regarding the harassment, and that when Day & Zimmerman finally arranged a meeting in response, it disciplined Hughes less than an hour later, and then fired him that same day, citing a false safety violation as a reason. EEOC v. Day & Zimmerman NPS, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-04741 (E.D.N.Y. consent decree filed Mar. 12, 2013).
The Commission alleged that Whirlpool violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it did nothing to stop a White male co-worker at a Whirlpool plant in LaVergne, Tenn., from harassing an African-American female employee because of her race and sex. The abuse lasted for two months and escalated when the co-worker physically assaulted the Black employee and inflicted serious permanent injuries. During a four-day bench trial, the court heard evidence that the employee repeatedly reported offensive verbal conduct and gestures by the co-worker to Whirlpool management before she was violently assaulted, without any corrective action by the company. The trial also established that the employee suffered devastating permanent mental injuries that will prevent her from working again as a result of the assault. At the conclusion of the bench trial, the judge entered a final judgment and awarded the employee a total of $1,073,261 in back pay, front pay and compensatory damages on December 21, 2009. Whirlpool filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment on January 15, 2010 which the district court denied on March 31, 2011. On April 26, 2011, Whirlpool appealed the judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The company withdrew its appeal on June 11, 2012 and agreed settle the case with the EEOC and plaintiff intervener for $1 million and court costs. The plant where the discrimination occurred had closed during the litigation period. EEOC v. Whirlpool Corp., No. 11-5508 (6th Cir. June 12, 2012) (granting joint motion to dismiss).
Ready Mix paid a total of $400,000 in compensatory damages to be apportioned among the seven class members to settle an EEOC lawsuit. The Commission had alleged Ready Mix USA LLC, doing business as Couch Ready Mix USA LLC, subjected a class of African American males at Ready Mix's Montgomery-area facilities to a racially hostile work environment. A noose was displayed in the worksite, derogatory racial language, including references to the Ku Klux Klan, was used by a direct supervisor and manager and that race-based name calling occurred. Ready Mix denies that racial harassment occurred at its worksites. The two-year decree enjoins Ready Mix from engaging in further racial harassment or retaliation and requires that the company conduct EEO training. Ready Mix will be required to modify its policies to ensure that racial harassment is prohibited and a system for investigation of complaints is in place. The company must also report certain complaints of harassment or retaliation to the EEOC for monitoring. EEOC v. Ready Mix USA LLC, No. 2:09-cv-00923 (M.D. Ala. Feb. 3, 2012).
In January 2013, a federal jury found that two Black employees of a North Carolina trucking company were subjected to a racially hostile work environment and awarded them $200,000 in damages. The jury also found that one employee was fired in retaliation for complaining about the hostile environment. In a complaint filed in June 2011, EEOC alleged that, from at least May 2007 through June 2008, one Black employee was subjected to derogatory and threatening comments based on his race by his supervisor and co-workers, and that a coworker mechanic displayed a noose and asked him if he wanted to "hang from our family tree." EEOC also alleged that the mechanic also repeatedly and regularly called the employee "nigger" and "Tyrone," a term the co-worker used to refer to unknown black individuals. Evidence also revealed that A.C. Widenhouse's general manager and the employee's supervisor also regularly made racial comments and used racial slurs, such as asking him if he would be the coon in a "coon hunt" and alerting him that if one of his daughters brought home a Black man, he would kill them both. The employee also frequently heard other co-workers use racial slurs such as "nigger" and "monkey" over the radio when communicating with each other. The second Black employee testified that, when he was hired in 2005, he was the company's only African American and was told he was the "token black." The general manager also talked about a noose and having "friends" visit in the middle of the night as threats to Floyd. Both employees reported the racial harassment, but company supervisors and officers failed to address the hostile work environment. The jury awarded the former employees $50,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 each in punitive damages. EEOC v. A.C. Widenhouse Inc., No. 1:11-cv-498 (M.D.N.C. verdict filed Jan. 28, 2013).
In January 2013, Emmert International agreed to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by EEOC that charged the company harassed and retaliated against employees in violation of federal law. Specifically, the EEOC's lawsuit alleged that the company's foreman and other Emmert employees repeatedly harassed two employees, one African American and the other Caucasian, while working on the Odd Fellows Hall project in Salt Lake City. Emmert's foreman and employees regularly used the "n-word," called the Black employee "boy," called the White employee a "n---- lover," and made racial jokes and comments. The EEOC also alleged that Emmert International retaliated against Black employee for complaining about the harassment. The 24- month consent decree requires the company to pay $180,000 to the two employees, provide training to its staff on unlawful employment discrimination, and to review and revise its policies on workplace discrimination. The decree also requires Emmert International to post notices explaining federal laws against workplace discrimination. EEOC v. Emmert Industrial Corp., d/b/a Emmert International, No. 2:11-CV-00920CW (D. Ariz. Jan. 7, 2013).
In October 2012, a district court ruled that the EEOC proved that a construction site where a White supervisor regularly used racial slurs was objectively a hostile work environment for Black employees under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It also decided, however, that a jury must determine if the three Black plaintiffs found the workplace subjectively offensive because, although their repeated complaints indicate they were offended, a jury must resolve factual issues raised by some co-workers' testimony that the plaintiffs actually did not seem bothered by the harasser's conduct. Ruling on EEOC's motion for partial summary judgment, the court said the company's admissions that site superintendent/project manager referred to three Black plaintiff-intervenors as "nigger" or "nigga" on a near-daily basis and told racial jokes using those terms and other offensive epithets establishes an objective racially hostile work environment. The court said the undisputed evidence also indicated that human resources manager told the company's employees during a safety meeting not to "nigger rig their jobs"; that company management was aware the worksite's portable toilets were covered with racist graffiti; and that other White supervisors and employees routinely used racial epithets, including an incident where a White supervisor commented regarding rap music being played in a van transporting employees to the worksite, "I'm not listening to this nigger jig." When confronted by a Black employee about the comment, the White supervisor allegedly replied: "I can see where your feelings were hurt, but there is a difference between niggers and blacks, Mexicans and spics. But I see you as a black man." EEOC v. Holmes & Holmes Indus. Inc., No. 10-955 (D. Utah Oct. 10, 2012).
In March 2012, the EEOC sued a restaurant in Menomonie, Wisconsin because its managers allegedly posted images of a noose, a Klan hood and other racist depictions, including a dollar bill that was defaced with a noose around the neck of a Black-faced George Washington, swastikas, and the image of a man in a Ku Klux Klan hood. A Black employee to complained and then was fired. EEOC v. Northern Star Hospitality Inc., Civil Action No. 12-cv-214 (W.D. Wis. Mar. 27, 2012).
In February 2012, major cement and concrete products company, paid $400,000 and furnished other relief to settle am EEOC lawsuit alleging racial harassment. The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that a class of African American males at Ready Mix's Montgomery-area facilities was subjected to a racially hostile work environment. The EEOC said that a noose was displayed in the worksite, that derogatory racial language, including references to the Ku Klux Klan, was used by a direct supervisor and manager and that race-based name calling occurred. Ready Mix denies that racial harassment occurred at its worksites. The two-year decree also enjoins Ready Mix from engaging in further racial harassment or retaliation and requires that the company conduct EEO training. Ready Mix will be required to modify its policies to ensure that racial harassment is prohibited and a system for investigation of complaints is in place. The company must also report certain complaints of harassment or retaliation to the EEOC for monitoring. EEOC v. Ready Mix USA d/b/a Couch Ready Mix USA LLC, No. 2:09-CV-923 (M.D. Ala. consent decree announced Feb. 21, 2012).
In August 2011, a federal district court entered a default judgment in favor of the EEOC in its lawsuit alleging that a pipeline construction company permitted several African American employees to be subjected to hanging nooses in the workplace even after they complained about the offensive displays. The company failed to retain counsel to prosecute the lawsuit. The court granted the EEOC's motion for a default judgment and awarded $50,000 to five claimants. The court also enjoined the company from discriminating on the basis of race or protected conduct in violation of Title VII. EEOC v. L.A. Pipeline Constr. Co., No. 2:08-CV-840 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 5, 2011).
In September 2014, Izza Bending Tube & Wire agreed to pay $45,000 to settle an EEOC suit alleging that the company retaliated against employee Myrna Peltonen when it demoted her and reduced her salary after she refused to discriminate against an African-American employee. The Commission lawsuit charged that Izza's manager instructed Peltonen not to hire the Black employee, who was working as a temporary employee, to a permanent position, and told her to get rid of him because of his race. The EEOC's lawsuit further alleged that after Peltonen filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC, she was laid off and then terminated in retaliation." The consent decree requires other equitable relief, including reporting and training. EEOC v. Izza Bending Tube & Wire, Inc., No. 0:13-cv-02570 (D. Minn. Sep. 19, 2014).
In March 2014, a federal district court upheld a jury verdict in favor of the EEOC and ruled that Sparx Restaurant of Menomonie, Wis., must provide back pay with interest of more than $41,000 in addition to the jury's award of damages of $15,000 to a former employee who was fired in retaliation for complaining about a racist display in the workplace. The display included a dollar bill with a noose around George Washington's neck and drawings of a man on horseback and a hooded figure with "KKK" written on his hood. After EEOC filed its case, Sparx Restaurant closed and was replaced by a Denny's franchise. The district court decided that the companies were a single employer. The court also entered a three-year injunction, enjoining the defendants from: discharging employees in retaliation for complaints about racially offensive postings in their workplace; failing to adopt policies that explicitly prohibit actions made unlawful under Title VII; failing to adopt an investigative process with regard to discrimination claims; and failing to provide annual training regarding Title VII to Chris Brekken, who owns all interests in the three corporate defendants, and other managers. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held for the first time held that a tax-offset award was appropriate in a Title VII claim when the lump-sum award place the employee in a higher tax bracket. The court also held that the new entity operating as a Denny's franchise was liable as a successor. EEOC v. Northern Star Hospitality, Inc., No. 3:12-cv-00214 (E.D. Wis. Judgment filed Feb. 25, 2014), aff'dl, EEOC v. Northern Star Hospitality, Inc., 777 F.3d 898 (7th Circ. 2015).
In December 2012, an office and technology supply store paid $85,000 and target recruitment of African-Americans and Hispanics to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC's lawsuit charged that OfficeMax violated federal law when its store manager retaliated against a sales associate after the associate complained that he had been terminated because he is Hispanic. The store manager was required to immediately reinstate the sales associate, but then engaged in a series of retaliatory actions designed to generate reasons to terminate him again and/or force the sales associate to resign, the agency alleged. In addition to the monetary settlement, the four year consent decree contained injunctive relief: OfficeMax agreed to target additional recruitment efforts in the Sarasota/Bradenton area to reach more African American and Hispanic applicants, provide training for its management and human resource personnel in three locations in the Bradenton/Sarasota area on racial harassment and retaliation, and will report future internal discrimination complaints to the EEOC. EEOC v. OfficeMax North America, Case No. 8:12-cv-00643-EAK-MAP (M.D. Fla. Dec. x, 2012).
In April 2012, a real estate company in Little Rock agreed to pay $600,000 to former employees and a class of applicants to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC's suit alleged that the company excluded Black applicants for jobs at the company's Little Rock location based upon their race. The EEOC also alleged that the company retaliated against other employees and former employees for opposing or testifying about the race discrimination, by demoting and forcing one out of her job and by suing others in state court. In addition to the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree requires the company to provide mandatory annual three-hour training on race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII; have its president or another officer appear at the training to address the company's non-discrimination policy and the consequences for discriminating in the workplace; maintain records of race discrimination and retaliation complaints; and provide annual reports to the EEOC. EEOC v. Bankers Asset Management, Inc., No. 4:10-CV-002070-SWW (E.D. Ark. Apr. 18, 2012).
In March 2012, a northern Nevada company agreed to pay $50,000 to a Black driver to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging racial harassment and retaliation. In its complaint, the EEOC said the driver was subjected to racial slurs by a supervisor and taunts by White employees. In one instance, the EEOC says a co-worker flaunted a swastika tattoo and talked about keeping the White race "pure." The lawsuit alleged that the driver was fired after complaining twice in one month about the treatment. EEOC v. Sierra Restroom Solutions, LLC, Civ. No. 3:09-CV-00537 (D. Nev. Mar. 20, 2012).
In March 2012, a Warren, Mich.-based painting company which does business in several states, will pay $65,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC had charged that the company unlawfully retaliated against an employee for objecting to race discrimination. In its lawsuit, the EEOC said that Atsalis retaliated against a journeyman painter, who complained about the use of the "N-word" by his foreman, by not bringing him back to work for the 2008 work season. In addition to the monetary award, the decree requires the company to provide ongoing anti-discrimination training to all of the company's officers, managers, supervisors and human resources personnel; create a new anti-discrimination policy; institute new procedures for handling discrimination complaints; and file reports with the EEOC regarding compliance with the decree's requirements. EEOC v. Atsalis Bros. Painting Co., Civil Action No. 11-cv-11296 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 9, 2012).
Chapman University, a private university in Orange, Calif., paid $75,000 and furnished other relief to settle an EEOC race discrimination. The EEOC had charged that Chapman's George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics (ASBE) discriminated against Stephanie Dellande, an assistant professor of marketing, because of her race. The EEOC contended that Dellande was denied both tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2006 because she is African-American, despite strong recommendations in her favor by many professional peers. The university discharged her in June 2008 upon a denial of her tenure appeal. According to the EEOC's suit, Dellande was the first Black professor to have been allowed to apply for tenure at the ASBE, and was subjected to a higher standard for obtaining tenure and promotion than her non-Black peers. EEOC v. Chapman Univ., No. 8:10-cv-1419(JAK) (C.D. Cal. June 20, 2014).
In September 2012, a Rosemont, Ill.-based food product distributor paid $165,000 and furnished other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that the food distributor violated federal law by firing an African-American employee who worked at its Memphis facility because of his race. Specifically, the EEOC said, the company discharged the black employee after he failed to stop a Caucasian driver who reported to work under the influence of alcohol from making deliveries on his route. US Foods did not terminate the Caucasian driver for being under the influence, or another Caucasian safety specialist who saw the driver at the first stop on his route. Instead, the company discharged the white driver later for an unrelated matter. EEOC v. US Foods, Inc. fka U.S. Foodservice, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-02861 (W.D. Tenn. Sep. 12, 2012).
In April 2012, the Fifth Circuit ruled that Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR) violated Title VII when engaged in race discrimination by terminating two Black employees because of work rule violations and retaining their similarly-situated White co-drivers who were involved in the same incidents leading to Black employees' dismissals. The Court also took issue with KCSR's failure to document the reasons for the terminations and inability to identify the decisionmaker. The Court cautioned: "KCSR is no stranger to Title VII employment discrimination litigation, and it would behoove KCSR to discharge its burden with greater acuity." EEOC v. KCSR, No. 09-30558 (5th Cir. 2012).
In June 2015, Pioneer Hotel, Inc. in Laughlin, Nevada agreed to pay $150,000 and furnish other relief to settle a national origin and color discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC charged that a class of Latino and/or brown-skinned workers was subjected to a barrage of highly offensive and derogatory comments about their national origin and/or skin color since at least 2006. Housekeeping and security department staffers in particular were constantly the targets of slurs by several supervisors and co-workers. In addition, the EEOC asserted that Latino / brown-skinned workers were told not to speak Spanish during their break times. Pioneer failed to stop and rectify the harassment and discrimination despite repeated complaints by the Latino / brown-skinned workers. Pioneer entered into a four-year consent decree that prohibits Pioneer from creating, facilitating or permitting a hostile work environment for employees who are Latino or darker-skinned. Additionally, the hotel agreed to hire an outside equal employment opportunity consultant to ensure that the company implements effective policies, procedures and training for all employees to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Pioneer management will receive additional training on its responsibilities under Title VII; be required to immediately report complaints to the human resources department; create a centralized system to track complaints; and be held accountable for failing to take appropriate action. Notice of consent decree will be visibly posted at the hotel. EEOC v. Pioneer Hotel, Inc. d/b/a Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall, Case No. 2:11-cv-01588-LRH-GWF (D. Nev. settlement June 18, 2015).
In March 2012, a Fairfax County, Va.-based stone contracting company agreed to pay $40,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging national origin, religion and color discrimination. According to the EEOC's suit, an estimator and assistant project manager was subjected to derogatory comments from his supervisors, project manager and the company's owner on the basis of his national origin (Pakistani), religion (Islam), and color (brown). The lawsuit indicated that the comments occurred almost daily and included things like telling the estimator he was the same color as human feces. The lawsuit also alleged that the estimator was told that his religion (Islam), was "f---ing backwards," and "f---ing crazy," and was asked why Muslims are such "monkeys." Pursuant to the three-year consent decree enjoining the company from engaging in any further discrimination against any person on the basis of color, national origin, or religion, the contracting company also agreed to redistribute the company's anti-harassment policy to each of its current employees; post its anti-harassment policies in all of its facilities and work sites; provide anti-harassment training to its managers, supervisors and employees; and post a notice about the settlement. EEOC v. Rugo Stone, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-915 (E.D. Va. Mar. 7, 2012).
In April 2011, the EEOC found that the transportation department engaged in race and color discrimination when it failed to select the Complainant, the Acting Division Secretary, for the position of Division Secretary. The EEOC found the Agency's explanation to be "so fraught with contradiction as not to be credible," and thus, a pretext for discrimination. The EEOC noted that Complainant discussed her experience as Acting Division Secretary in her KSA responses, and, contrary to the Agency's assertion, made numerous references to acting as a Division Secretary in her application. The EEOC ordered the placement of Complainant into the Division Secretary position, with appropriate back pay and benefits, and payment of attorney's fees and costs. Bowers v. Dep't of Transp., EEOC Appeal No. 0720100034 (Apr. 15, 2011).
In June 2015, the EEOC filed an amicus brief in support of a pro se plaintiff whose race and age discrimination case was dismissed for failure to establish a prima facie case. The Commission argued in this appeal that the district court erred in dismissing the case because the general manager's repeated references to the plaintiff's race and age, such as "you're the wrong color" and "you're too old" along with plaintiff's supervisor's comment to her, "old white bi…" shortly before the general manager and supervisor terminated plaintiff were sufficient to establish a prima facie case and to provide evidence of pretext. Kilgore v. Trussville Develop., LLC, No. 15-11850 (11th Cir. brief filed June 22, 2015).
In September 2012, the County of Kauai in Hawaii paid $120,000 to settle a federal charge of race harassment filed with the EEOC. A former attorney for the County of Kauai's Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, who is Caucasian, alleged that she was harassed due to her race by a top-level manager. The manager allegedly made continually disparaging comments to the former attorney, saying that she needed to assimilate more into the local culture and break up with her boyfriend at the time, also White, in favor of a local boy. The EEOC ultimately found reasonable cause to believe that the county violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the harassment to which the former attorney was subjected. Following the determination, the County of Kauai entered into an over two-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and the alleged victim. Aside from the monetary relief, the county agreed to establish policies and complaint procedures dealing with discrimination and harassment in the workplace and to provide live EEO training to all managers and supervisors. The county further agreed to post notices on the matter on all bulletin boards throughout the county and to permit the disclosure of the settlement.
In March 2012, a financial services company formerly located in various cities in Michigan agreed to settle for $55,000 an age and race discrimination suit brought by the EEOC. The EEOC lawsuit alleged that that Wells Fargo Financial failed to promote a highly qualified 47-year-old African-American loan processor on the basis of age and race. The loan processor applied for a promotion but was passed over for five lesser qualified Caucasian women aged between 23 and 30 who were based in various other branch offices, even though the processor had the best combination of relevant, objective scores that measured productivity, was "loan processor of the year" for 2007, the year immediately preceding the promotion decision, worked at the one of the largest and most profitable offices in the relevant district, and was the "go-to person" for the district on loan processing. EEOC v. Wells Fargo Financial Michigan, Inc., Case No. 2:10-CV-13517 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 22, 2012).
In November 2011, one of the nation's largest retailers will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle the EEOC's race, sex and age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. According to the EEOC lawsuit, an over 40, African-American female employee who worked in loss prevention at several Sears stores in the Oklahoma City area, from 1982 until her termination in March of 2010, was passed over for promotion to supervisor several times beginning in 2007 in favor of younger, less experienced, White males. Sears allegedly retaliated against Johnson for her initial EEOC discrimination charge in September 2007 by subjecting her to worsening terms and conditions at work. In addition to the $100,000 payment, Sears has agreed to take specified actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including the posting of anti-discrimination notices to employees, dissemination of its anti-discrimination policy and providing anti-discrimination training to employees. EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., No. 5:10-cv-01068-R (W.D. Okla. Nov. 4, 2011).
In December 2012, an agricultural farm in Norman Park, Ga., has agreed to pay $500,000 to a class of American seasonal workers - many of them African-American - who, the EEOC alleged, were subjected to discrimination based on their national origin and/or race. The EEOC's suit had charged that the company unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against American workers by firing virtually all American workers while retaining workers from Mexico during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. The agency also alleged that Hamilton Growers fired at least 16 African-American workers in 2009 based on race and/or national origin as their termination was coupled with race-based comments by a management official. Additionally, the lawsuit charged that Hamilton Growers provided lesser job opportunities to American workers by assigning them to pick vegetables in fields which had already been picked by foreign workers, which resulted in Americans earning less pay than their Mexican counterparts. Pursuant to the consent decree settling the suit, the Hamilton Growers will exercise good faith in hiring and retaining qualified workers of American national origin and African-American workers for all farm work positions, including supervisory positions. Hamilton Growers will also implement non-discriminatory hiring measures, which include targeted recruitment and advertising, appointment of a compliance official, and training for positive equal employment opportunity management practices. The company has also pledged, among other things, to create a termination appeal process; extend rehire offers to aggrieved individuals from the 2009-2012 growing seasons; provide transportation for American workers which is essential to viable employment in that part of the country; and limit contact between the alleged discriminating management officials and American workers. The decree also provides for posting anti-discrimination notices, record-keeping and reporting to the EEOC. EEOC v. Hamilton Growers, Inc. d/b/a Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, Inc., No. 11-cv-134 (M.D. Ga. consent decree filed 12/10/12).
In August 2011, New York University agreed to pay $210,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to settle a racial and national origin harassment lawsuit by the EEOC, alleging that an African NYU Library employee from Ghana was subjected to racial slurs, such as "monkey" and "gorilla" and insults such as "do you want a banana," "go back to the jungle," and "go back to your cage" by his mailroom supervisor. Pursuant to a three-year consent decree, the university also will improve and implement university-wide enhanced policies and complaint procedures; designate an EEO coordinator to monitor NYU's compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws; conduct in-person, comprehensive EEO training sessions for employees, supervisors, and HR staff; and maintain records of its responses to future employee complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. EEOC v. NYU, No. 10-CV-7399 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 2011).
In March 2013, a not-for-profit developer of real estate, offices, and facilities around Grand Central Terminal in New York City paid $135,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by EEOC. The EEOC's lawsuit asserted that a non-Rastafarian security officer threatened to shoot a group of Rastafarian officers. When the Rastafarians complained, a white security supervisor made light of the physical threat and implied the Rastafarians were at fault. One Rastafarian security officer objected to the supervisor's reaction and complained that he heard the supervisor had referred to the Rastafarians by the "N-word." The Rastafarian security officer immediately contacted EEOC about the incident. The EEOC had previously sued the developer for failing to accommodate the religious beliefs of four Rastafarian employees who needed modifications to its dress code. That lawsuit was resolved by a 2009 consent decree which prohibited Grand Central Partnership from retaliating against Rastafarian security officers for their participation in the lawsuit, but the developer's current conduct constituted a breach of the earlier consent decree. In addition to the monetary relief, the new consent decree requires the developer to conduct extensive training on investigating discrimination complaints, including methods for proper documentation and unbiased assessment of witness credibility. The decree also requires developer to regularly report to EEOC about any further complaints of religious discrimination or retaliation. EEOC v. Grand Central Partnership, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-09682 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 1, 2013).
 For another human trafficking case, see EEOC v. Trans Bay Steel, Inc., No. 06-07766 (C.D. Cal. complaint filed 2006) (nearly $1 million settlement of national origin discrimination case in which 48 Thai welders paid exorbitant recruitment fees to an agency that kept them in involuntary servitude, and had their passports confiscated by employers that forced them to work without pay and threatened them with arrest if they tried to escape their slave-like, squalid conditions).
 As the Sixth Circuit explained: "A White employee who is discharged because his child is biracial is discriminated against on the basis of his race, even though the root animus for the discrimination is a prejudice against the biracial child" because "the essence of the alleged discrimination . . . is the contrast in races." Tetro v. Elliott Popham Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, & GMC Trucks, Inc., 173 F.3d 988, 994-95 (6th Cir. 1999) (holding employee stated a claim under Title VII when he alleged that company owner discriminated against him after his biracial child visited him at work).