Black Employees Subjected to Racism; White Co-Workers Punished for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged
MIAMI – The owners/operators of a Stuart, Fla., strip club will pay $95,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Papermoon-Stuart, Inc., and Imaginary Images, Inc., a Richmond, Va., parent corporation, violated federal law when they subjected two black doormen to racial harassment, segregation, and differing terms and conditions of employment. The company also retaliated against white employees who complained, the EEOC said.
According to the EEOC’s suit, managers at the Papermoon club in Stuart referred to black employees using offensive racial slurs, forced black employees to work in the back of the club instead of at the club entrance, and complained that “black music makes the club look bad.” According to the suit, company managers did not stop the harassment, but instead either forced out or fired white employees who opposed the abusive conduct.
In addition to monetary damages in the amount of $95,000, the 30-month consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Papermoon-Stuart, Inc. and Imaginary Images, Inc., d/b/a Papermoon, Case No. 0:09-cv-14316-Martinez/Lynch, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Ft. Pierce Division) includes injunctive relief enjoining the company from engaging in further race discrimination; requires the posting of a notice about the settlement; and obligates the company to conduct training and to report information about race discrimination complaints it receives to the EEOC for monitoring.
“It is important for employers to recognize that this type of racial discrimination has no place in the modern workplace,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg. “Employers must treat employees of all races with dignity.”
EEOC Trial Attorney Kaleb Kasperson said, “Employers must take swift action to assure that their workplace is free from racially offensive conduct. The law requires that the workplace be free from this type of blatant racism and segregation.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.