Company's Only Black Service Technician Was Subjected to a Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charges
NEWARK, N.J. - TGS Garage & Doors, a company that sells, installs and repairs garage doors and garage door openers in central New Jersey, violated federal law by subjecting its lone black service technician to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed.
According to the EEOC's complaint, TGS subjected its sole black service technician to a race-based hostile work environment through repeated racist comments and slurs. His supervisor and co-workers repeatedly used a racial insult, commented about the technician's skin color, and made offensive comments that relied on stereotypes about black people. When one such racist comment was made in a meeting in front of the general manager of the company, instead of taking corrective action, the general manager simply laughed, the EEOC said. The racist abuse was egregious enough that he was compelled to resign.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, which includes subjecting employees to a racially hostile work environment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (EEOC v. Total Garage Solutions Limited Liability Company d/b/a TGS Garage & Doors, Civil Action No. 19-18965) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Sebastian Riccardi and supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.
"Employees have a right to earn a living in an environment free of racial harassment," said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. "This kind of misconduct is against the law, and employers must know that this type of behavior cannot be tolerated."
EEOC's New York District Director Kevin Berry added, "The law is clear -- employers have a responsibility to ensure that their workplaces are free from racial harassment and cannot ignore employees' racist behavior, much less condone it."
The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.