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Press Release 10-03-2011

EEOC Sues Hampton Inn Franchise for Race and National Origin Bias

Franchise Owners Fired White and Non-Hispanic Workers Because Of Negative Stereotypes, Federal Agency Alleges

DENVER – A Hampton Inn franchise in Craig, Colorado, owned and operated by Century Shree Corporation and Century Rama, Inc. illegally terminated employees beginning in August onwards because of their race, Caucasian, and national origin, non-Hispanic, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a lawsuit filed by the agency September 29, 2011. The EEOC complaint also alleges that the two companies violated federal recordkeeping laws when they failed to archive and preserve employment records for at least one year so that the agency could properly investigate the charges.

According to the EEOC, a class of employees, including Wendy Buckley, Ashlee Flannery, and Dewetta McKnight, was discharged from the Hampton Inn at Craig, Colorado, because the owners of the companies subscribed to stereotypes that White or non-Hispanic workers were indolent. Employers are prohibited from discharging employees because of their race or national origin, including if the action is informed by negative myths and stereotypes, as this action violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, Case No. 11-cv-2558-REB-CBS, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the companies.

"An employer cannot discharge or refuse to hire an individual based on derogatory beliefs about that person's race or national origin," said Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "Employers cannot choose employees based on the color of their skin or their ancestry. This form of blatant discrimination clearly violates federal law."

The Commission is pursuing back pay and compensatory damages on behalf of Buckley, Flannery, McKnight, and all other employees adversely affected by Century Shree Corp. and Century Rama, Inc.'s conduct. The EEOC is also prioritizing non-economic relief in the lawsuit, including seeking a permanent injunction against the employers that will prohibit them from discriminating in the future, and requiring the owners, managers, and supervisors of the two companies to undergo training on federal antidiscrimination laws.

Denver EEOC Field Director Nancy Sienko explained, "Non-economic relief is central to the Commission's mission. The EEOC seeks to eradicate discrimination from the workplace so that individuals can find and maintain work based on their skills and performance and not on their race and national origin."

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