White Co-Workers Racially Harassed Black Employee, Federal Agency Charged
TEXARKANA, Ark. - MMR Constructors, Inc., a worldwide labor contractor, has agreed to pay $50,000 and provide other relief to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that a black employee, who worked as a technician for MMR at the Ash Grove Cement Plant in Foreman, Ark., was subjected to racially offensive language, graffiti and death threats by white employees.
According to the EEOC's suit, two white co-workers came to the black employee's home in the middle of the night and threatened to kill him if he made any more racial harassment complaints against other co-workers or with regard to the racial graffiti. The black employee reported the incident, but MMR refused to take appropriate action against the harassers because the incident occurred away from the worksite.
Racial harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 4:12-cv-04117) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Texarkana Division after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.
Besides the monetary relief, the 18-month consent decree agreed upon by the parties and approved by the court requires MMR to provide training on racial discrimination, the proper handling of complaints of racial discrimination and anti-retaliation training for all of its management employees in Baton Rouge, La., and Arkansas. MMR must also report any complaints of racial discrimination and racial harassment received from any location in Baton Rouge, La., or Arkansas.
"The law requires employers to provide a safe workplace that is free of racial harassment," said Faye Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Tennessee, Arkansas and northern Mississippi. "This not only includes the obligation to promptly and effectively investigate all complaints of racial discrimination and harassment but to also take proper action, when necessary, to correct such unlawful behavior. When an employer fails to do so, it runs the risk of finding itself embroiled in litigation."
Baton Rouge, La.-based MMR provides specialty contracting services for clients in the oil and gas, manufacturing, chemical, and power generation industries.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.