The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Flooring Company Paid Blacks and Hispanics Less Than White Employees, Federal Agency Charges

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Carolina Marble & Tile Co., a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based flooring company, discriminated against blacks and Hispanics by paying them less than their white counterparts, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Carolina Marble & Tile discriminated against James E. Ham, who is black, and other black and Hispanic employees when it paid them lower wages than white coworkers who performed the same jobs. Ham and the other workers were employed as flooring installation helpers. The suit alleges that the discriminatory wage payments have occurred since at least March 2006.

“There is absolutely no excuse – legally or morally – for paying workers of one race more than workers of another race for doing the same job,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The Commission is proud to stand up for and protect the rights of the workers who were wronged here.”

Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, (Civil Action No. 1:09-cv-00703 ), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The agency seeks back pay for Ham and the other discrimination victims, along with compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

“This case represents the sobering reality that some companies continue to discriminate against minorities in terms of equal pay,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Businesses that choose to compensate blacks and Hispanics at a lesser rate than whites for the same work will be confronted by the Commission, and if necessary, pursued in court.”

Tina Burnside, supervisory trial attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, added, “Under Title VII it is unlawful for an employer to determine employees’ pay based on their race, national origin or other protected class status; therefore, black and Hispanic employees doing the same or similar work should not be paid less than whites.”

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 September 15, 2009.

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