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Choctaw Transportation Company Sued By EEOC For Race Discrimination

Dyersburg Company Refuses to Hire Black Deckhands, Federal Agency Charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Dyersburg, Tenn., company violated federal law by refusing to hire a class of African-Americans for deckhand positions because of their race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on September 9, 2010. The EEOC also charged that Choctaw maintained segregated job assignments and failed to properly maintain its medical and personnel records.

Choctaw Transportation Company, Inc., a Mississippi corporation with a facility located in Dyersburg, is a marine construction and transportation company that works, in part, with the Army Corps of Engineers in the marine/barge industry.

The EEOC’s suit, Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-01248, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, asserted that Choctaw violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it failed to hire or place Larry A. Jones and a class of African-Americans into deckhand positions because of their race. The EEOC charged that Choctaw has segregated its work force for decades in this way. The EEOC further charged that Choctaw violated the record-keeping provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it failed to properly maintain medical and personnel records.

The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement, and an injunction against future discrimination.

“The company’s rejection of Mr. Jones was clearly based on his race and not on his qualifications to perform the duties of the job,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. “Fighting this type of blatant race discrimination is a priority for the EEOC.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at