New York-Based Real Estate Management Company Fired Employees In Retaliation For Complaining About Racial Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
GREENVILLE, S.C. - DHD Ventures Management Company, Inc., a New York-based real estate management company, will pay a total of $40,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging racial harassment and retaliation, the agency announced today.
According to EEOC's complaint, from late 2007 through November 2011, Charles Lesine and Marlin Ware worked at Grandeagle Apartments, a residential complex in Greenville, South Carolina, that was managed by DHD Ventures Management Company, Inc. During that period, the complaint alleged they were repeatedly subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial comments and slurs made by a white coworker, including repeated use of the "N" word. Although Lesine and Ware made multiple complaints to the coworker and management about harassment, the racial epithets continued. EEOC said Lesine and Ware were fired in November 2011 in retaliation for complaining about the harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from allowing a racially hostile work environment to exist in the workplace, and also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who oppose such discriminatory conduct. EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Greenville Division (EEOC v. DHD Ventures Management Company, Inc., et. al, Case No. 6:15-cv-00102-TMC-KFM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to providing monetary relief to Lesine and Ware, the company entered into a three-year consent decree that provides for injunctive relief preventing DHD Management Company, Inc. from subjecting any employee to harassment based on race, and from retaliating against anyone who complains about such harassment. The decree also requires the company to adopt, implement, and post an anti-discrimination policy and provide annual anti-discrimination training at its North and South Carolina facilities. Finally, the company must provide EEOC with semi-annual reports of written and verbal complaints of unwelcome racial conduct made by employees.
"Companies must ensure they do not allow racial slurs to be used in the workplace, and that they take prompt and effective action in response to complaints of such misconduct," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Employers must also remember that retaliation against people who complain about illegal employment discrimination is itself against the law. EEOC will vigorously enforce these federal laws."
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.