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PRESS RELEASE
11-30-18

Master Marine to Pay $102,000 to Settle EEOC Same-Sex Harassment & Race Dicrimination Lawsuit

Shipbuilding and Repair Company Subjected Asian-American Welder to Sexual and Racial Harassment and Used Racial Slurs Against Several Black Workers, Federal Agency Charged

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Master Marine, Inc., a Gulf Coast shipbuilder, will pay $102,000 to settle a same-sex harassment and race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, between January and June 2016, a white male e supervisor at Master Marine's Bayou La Batre, Ala. facility, repeatedly referred to an Asian-American welder in racially derogatory terms, including making insensitive remarks regarding the victim's Asian heritage. In addition, the supervisor repeatedly made unwanted sexual comments and inappropriately touched the welder in a sexual manner. The supervisor also subjected three black employees to daily racial harassment by repeatedly referring to them as "n----r," "monkey," and "boy." Although complaints were made to Master Marine's management concerning the harassment, no action was ever taken to prevent or correct it.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race or color, as well as sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Master Marine, Inc., Case No. 1:18-cv-00269) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama after the first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to the $102,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Bradley Murray prohibits Master Marine from subjecting any employee to race or sex discrimination in the future. In addition, Master Marine must take specified actions designed to prevent future Title VII violations, including issuance of a written statement to its employees confirming its commitment to promoting a workplace free of discriminatory practices, revising of company policies to communicate and implement the company's commitment to creating and maintaining a harassment-free workplace, and providing annual anti-discrimination training to all supervisors, managers, and other employees, with an emphasis on harassment.

"We commend Master Marine for its willingness to settle this case, which contained serious allegations of harassment, early in the litigation process," said EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker. "The significant monetary award and the corrective measures in this decree should prevent this kind of alleged misconduct in the future."

Bradley Anderson, the EEOC's district director for the Birmingham District Office, said, "We take allegations of workplace harassment seriously. No worker deserves to suffer harassment to make a living, and, as evidenced by this lawsuit, the EEOC is committed to protecting victimized workers."

According to company information, Master Marine is a shipbuilding and repair company that manages various marine-related projects for the oil and gas sector, inland transportation, passenger vessels, and commercial fishing industries.

Earlier this month, the EEOC released preliminary fiscal year 2018 data reporting increases in harassment charges and litigation. Hits on the EEOC's harassment web page have doubled since the start of the #MeToo movement one year ago.

The EEOC's Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ-ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.