Company Rejected Five African-Americans for Promotion Based on Race, Federal Agency Charged
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that a federal judge has entered a $150,000 consent decree that resolves its race discrimination lawsuit against Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, an international steel manufacturing company with a plant located in Calvert, Ala.
In the lawsuit filed on June 8, 2015, EEOC charged that Outokumpu failed to promote Daniel Nickelson, Wallace Dubose, Steven Jones, Victor Oliver and Joshua Burrell to the position of Team Leader because they were Black. The Commission alleges that each candidate was highly qualified for the promotion to Team Leader and, despite their respective qualifications, Outokumpu promoted lesser qualified White applicants.
Discrimination based on race violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (EEOC v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, Case No. 1:13-cv-00473-WS-N) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $150,000 payment, Outokumpu agrees to take specified actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including implementing new policies and practices designed to prevent race discrimination in employment decisions, providing anti-discrimination training to employees, and the posting of anti-discrimination notices in its workplace. All settlement terms are set forth in the three-year consent decree.
"Making employment decisions based on race, such as promoting White candidates over more qualified African-American candidates, strikes at the heart of why Title VII exists," said Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "Although we have come a long way since Title VII was enacted, discrimination still occurs. EEOC will continue to pursue actions against employers who make employment decisions based on race rather than skill and experience."
EEOC Birmingham District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas added, "Title VII protects all workers in the workplace from race discrimination. As this case demonstrates, EEOC is committed to enforcing the law when we see a violation in keeping with our mission to eradicate employment discrimination. "
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC's Birmingham District covers Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. 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.