The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Black Worker Fired for Protesting Unequal Treatment, Federal Agency Alleged

ST. LOUIS – A Washington Park, Ill., packaging and warehousing company will pay $57,500 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The suit alleged that Material Resources, LLC, which does business as Gateway Co-Packing Company, failed to provide a black employee the pay raise and health insurance coverage provided to his white co-workers, and then fired him in retaliation for filing a charge of race discrim­ination with the EEOC. Race discrimination and retaliation for complaining about such disparate treatment violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 08-245-MJR) in federal district court in East St. Louis, Ill., after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

As provided in the consent decree settling the case, pending approval by U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan, Material Resources will pay the former employee $7,500 in back pay and $50,000 in compensatory damages. The company will also take steps to prevent discrimination in the future, including disseminating a letter to all employees from the company president stating that the company will comply with all federal anti-discrimination laws and enforce its policy prohibiting unlawful discrim­ination. Additionally, Material Resources will provide training on race discrimination and retaliation to all supervisors, and instruct all supervisory employees that their effective handling of complaints of discrimination or retaliation will be considered in evaluating their performance for raises and promotions.

“This settlement should go far in educating the company’s managers on their responsibilities under federal civil rights law,” said Webster Smith, acting director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “The training and other injunctive remedies provided by this decree will reinforce the law and help the company effectively handle internal discrimination complaints.”

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

This page was last modified on August 12, 2009.

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