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Press Release 03-29-2023

EEOC Sues PRC Industries for Racial Harassment and Retaliatory Termination

Black Workers Faced Racial Slurs and Retaliation, Federal Agency Charges

RENO, Nev. – E-commerce remanufacturer PRC Industries (PRC) violated federal law by tolerating racial harassment of two Black workers and firing them in retaliation for reporting the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC’s suit, two Black workers, a married couple hired in Jan. 2020 to work at PRC’s repair facility in Reno, Nev., faced constant racial taunts and slurs, including the ‘n-word,’ from their supervisors, a brother and sister. The couple also observed the sibling supervisors routinely denigrating other Black employees due to their race. This conduct occurred openly, in front of co-workers and managers. Senior personnel, including a site manager and a vice president, failed to take adequate steps to curb the misconduct, despite being put on notice of the racial harassment. In late-May 2020, when the couple continued to report ongoing offensive treatment, they were fired via text message by one of the supervisors accused of harassment.

Such alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits harassment due to race and requires emp­loyers to take prompt action to investigate and stop the misconduct after they receive notice of it.

The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v PRC Industries, Inc. Corp Case No. 3-27-2023 JJO-VSC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and the suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

“Leaders set company culture by the language and conduct they choose to tolerate as well as the behavior they model,” said EEOC San Francisco District Director Nancy Sienko. “Federal civil rights laws mandate that employers act promptly and effectively to stop race-based harassment, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable if they fail to meet their obligations.”

“It is the unfortunate reality that racial discrimination still plagues many workplaces,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney James H. Baker.  “The EEOC will continue to take appropriate legal action to root out such conduct.”

The suit was brought by the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office, which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the agency’s litigation in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho. The district has offices in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about race discrimination is available at /racecolor-discrimination.  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.