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Press Release 07-24-2018

EEOC Sues Fanatics Retail Group for Race Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

Sports Merchandise Retailer Permitted Racist Slurs and Refused to Promote an Employee Who Complained

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fanatics Retail Group, Inc. violated federal law by subjecting employees to racial discrimination, harassment and retaliatory failure to promote, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. Jacksonville-based Fanatics is a leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, including NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR merchandise.

The EEOC's suit charged that Fanatics' Jacksonville workplace was racially divided, and that the company subjected employees to racial slurs and comments such as "We don't need any outbreak monkeys here." When an employee complained about the treatment, he was told that he would never be promoted.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-900-J-32PDB) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"The use of racial slurs in the workplace and retaliating against an employee for complaining is abhorrent," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg. "When such abuse occurs, the EEOC will vigorously seek to correct the bad practices and secure an appropriate remedy for the victim."

EEOC District Director Michael Farrell added, "This type of outrageous discrimination has no place in the workplace. We hope that our lawsuit will send a message, not only to the defendant, but to the entire manufacturing and retail industry, that the EEOC will not tolerate this kind of misconduct - or retaliation for complaining about it."

The EEOC's Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa and San Juan EEOC offices, and has jurisdiction over Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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