Restaurant Managers Created a Racially Hostile Work Environment For Black Employee, Federal Agency Charged
PINE BLUFF, Ark. - H2H Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Huddle House #670 in Pine Bluff, Ark., will pay $15,000 to settle a racial harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, H2H's senior vice president of operations and its region manager regularly subjected a black employee to offensive and unwelcome racially derogatory name-calling when they would each visit the restaurant. Other employees also witnessed the managers' use of racially derogatory slurs in the restaurant. When the employee complained about the name calling, H2H failed to take any action or address the complaint, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC. v. H2H Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a/ Huddle House #670, Civil Action No.5:14-cv-00362-JLH) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $15,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins H2H from any future subjecting employees to a racially hostile work environment or retaliating against any employee who reports allegations of racial harassment. The consent decree also requires H2H to provide training on racial harassment, maintain records of any complaints of racial harassment, and provide annual reports to the EEOC.
"The use of racially offensive and derogatory slurs in the workplace is not only inappropriate and morally reprehensible, it is unlawful," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which serves Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "Employers can never ignore such behavior, especially when an employee has brought such behavior to the employer's attention. In this case, we are pleased that H2H chose to resolve this matter quickly without protracted litigation."
H2H Enterprises, Inc. is a management consulting services company and a franchise partner of Huddle House, Inc. H2H Enterprises owns three Huddle House restaurants, which are located in Pine Bluff, White Hall, and El Dorado, Ark.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.