Federal Agency Says Black Employees Were Racially Harassed by Project Superintendent And Fired for Complaining
SELMA, Ala. - Olympia Construction, Inc. will pay a total of $100,000 jointly to three former employees to resolve a race harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC's lawsuit charged that Olympia subjected Adrian Soles, Anthony Moorer and George McWilliams to racial slurs and intimidation. The agency also said that Olympia terminated the victims because they complained to the EEOC.
Race discrimination and retaliation for opposing or reporting it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Selma Division (Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-155-N) after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
U.S. District Judge Kristi K. Dubose of the Southern District of Alabama approved the consent decree on Feb. 27 ending the suit, which had been filed in March 2013. In addition to payment of the settlement amount, Olympia is required to take steps to prevent future harassment or retaliation, including ongoing training for all employees and management, reporting any complaints and the company's responses to the EEOC and posting a notice for all its employees about the settlement as well as contact information for reporting harassment, discrimination or retaliation.
"Our hope is that this case will serve as prevention for years to come and a reminder that discrimination is illegal and has no place in the 21st century workplace," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Marsha Rucker.
Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the agency's Birmingham District Office, added, "The settlement is significant not only for the monetary relief obtained for the victims, but also for the extensive training of Olympia's workforce and policy changes that will take place as a result of the EEOC's action."
Olympia Construction, headquartered in Albertville, Ala., develops and builds housing for families and senior citizens in eight states throughout the South and Southeastern United States.
The 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. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.