Employee Fired for Complaints About Harassment, Federal Agency Charged
HOUSTON – Two Dallas/Fort Worth-area transportation brokerage companies will pay $50,000 and provide additional remedial relief to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Joshua Male’s employer unlawfully retaliated against him by firing him because he had complained about workplace comments being made by two coworkers at the Sugar Land, Texas facility where they worked.
The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:09cv03142, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division) asserted that in July 2008, Male complained to the human resources manager about persistent inappropriate jokes about Mormons, as well as workplace comments allegedly disparaging a pregnant female co-worker, women in general, and an African American. The HR manager reported Male's complaints to the general manager of the facility, and Male was fired within less than 72 hours.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy) or national origin, and prohibits employers from retaliating against those who complain about such misconduct. The EEOC filed the lawsuit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
Under the terms of the four-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas, the companies will pay $50,000 in relief to compensate Male. In addition to the monetary payments, the decree requires that the companies’ salaried employees receive periodic training on laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
“No one should lose his job for alerting human resources to inappropriate workplace behavior,” said EEOC Houston Regional Attorney Jim Sacher. “Enforcement of Title VII depends upon employees who are willing to oppose and report conduct that might violate anti-discrimination laws. We are pleased that Amino worked with the EEOC to negotiate a fair resolution to this matter.”
According to their web sites, both Amino Transport, Inc., and Chariot Express, Inc., are transportation brokerage companies, providing transportation solutions to their customers and carriers. The companies share an office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Amino Transport has an office in the Houston area where Male had worked. Amino Chariot Management LLC is the parent company. The EEOC's suit claimed that Amino Transport, Inc., Chariot Express, Inc., and Amino Chariot Management, LLC operate as an integrated enterprise.
The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s website at www.eeoc.gov.