Truck Wash Company Fired Black Employee Because of His Race and Complaints About Racial Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
HARRISBURG, Pa - Eagle United Truck Wash, LLC, which operates truck washing facilities at truck-stop locations around the United States, violated federal law when it subjected an African-American truck washer to racial harassment and fired him because of his race and in retaliation for complaining about the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the suit, on Jan. 7, 2014, Eagle United Truck Wash hired a black truck washer at its Milton, Pa. facility and subjected him to egregious racial harassment throughout his employment. Supervisors and employees called or referred to the truck washer, who was the only the only black employee at the Milton facility for most of his employment, as a "n-----r." Employees also used racial slurs to refer to customers and other employees. Once the "Employee Rights" poster in the facility's break room was covered with a piece of paper to read "N-----r Rights." The EEOC said that the manager did not stop the racial harassment even though the offensive comments were often made in his presence and the truck washer repeatedly complained to him about it. On March 23, 2016, Eagle United Truck Wash fired the truck washer the same day he again complained about the racial harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial harassment and discrimination. Title VII also prohibits employers from firing an employee because he complained about harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Eagle United Truck Wash, LLC, Civil Action No. 4:18-cv-1856) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"It is appalling that this employer not only condoned employees and supervisors making vile racial slurs, but then fired the victim instead of the harassers," said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Jamie R. Williamson added, "While we certainly have made great progress as a nation, this case shows that we still have much work to do to ensure that all employees, whether manual laborers or office workers, can work in a respectful workplace free from racial harassment. Employers who fire someone for complaining about racial harassment only compound the problem and risk a lawsuit by the EEOC."
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.