MIAMI -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed a post-9/11 national origin discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Chromalloy Castings Tampa Corporation, a manufacturer of precision investment castings for the aerospace industry.
The EEOC's suit, Case # 8:02-CV-1769-T-30 MAP, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, alleges that a naturalized American citizen of Palestinian descent was singled out and discharged within days of the 9/11 attacks for no other reason than his national origin. The suit is one of the first filed by the agency nationwide alleging that an employee was unlawfully discriminated against as a direct result of the September 11th attacks on the United States.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, the EEOC has taken an active role in urging employers to promote tolerance and guard against misdirecting their anger and fear toward innocent employees because of their national origin, ethnicity or religion. As part of those efforts, in November of 2001, the EEOC, together with sister agencies, the Departments of Justice and Labor, issued a joint statement focusing on preventing and redressing incidents of harassment discrimination and violence in the workplace directed toward individuals who are, or are perceived to be, Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian or Sikh.
Federico Costales, district director of the EEOC's Miami District Office, said, "For any employee to lose a job on the sole basis of his or her national origin in unacceptable. Pursuing this particular case to litigation will advance EEOC's ongoing efforts to eradicate such unlawful conduct and will serve to remind employers of the words of President Bush: "We must be mindful that as we seek to win the war [against terrorism] we treat Arab Americans and Muslims with the respect they deserve.'"
Delner Franklin-Thomas, regional attorney for the Miami District Office, added, "This case should serve notice to employers and the public that EEOC will honor the commitments it made in the aftermath of 9/11 to safeguard the rights of innocent employees who are of Middle Eastern descent. EEOC will prosecute violation of those rights to the fullest extent of the law."
As part of its suit, the EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prevent future acts of discrimination on the part of Chromalloy Castings Tampa Corporation, as well as compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the aggrieved employee.
In addition to enforcing Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation, the EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrim- ination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits gender-based wage discrimin- ation; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.