Black Employees Racially Harassed by Project Superintendent and Fired When They Complained and Sought Help From EEOC, Agency Charges
SELMA, Ala. - Olympia Construction, Inc. violated federal anti-discrimination laws when its project superintendent and a supervisor racially harassed three African-American employees at one of its Selma construction sites, according to a lawsuit filed March 29, 2013 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 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.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, in 2011, the project superintendent and a supervisor at one Olympia Construction's work sites in Selma routinely addressed and referred to its three black employees in racially derogatory language. One day, the project superintendent angrily ordered the employees off the worksite with a stream of taunts punctuated with the "N" word and then terminated them. After the employees complained to company owners and officials about the harassment, and informed them that they had contacted the EEOC, Olympia Construction terminated their employment.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Selma Division (Civil Action No.: ) after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
"Employers have a responsibility to ensure that their work environments, whether in an office or a construction site, are devoid of this type of racial misconduct," said EEOC District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas.
EEOC Regional Attorney C. Emanuel Smith added, "Employers should guard against the use of racial epithets in the workplace and impose appropriate discipline when such behavior is discovered."
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.