Press Release 05-07-2020

EEOC Sues Thompson Construction Group for Race Discrimination

African American Pipefitter Foreman Fired Because Of His Race, Federal Agency Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. – Thompson Construction Group, Inc., a heavy industrial contractor based in Sumter, S.C., violated federal law when it fired a black employee because of his race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the African American employee began working as a pipefitter foreman for Thompson Construction Group around July 2018 at a job site in Semora, N.C. The pipefitter foreman was assigned to oversee a crew of pipe workers. In November 2018, a white subordinate made abusive and racially derogatory comments to the pipefitter foreman and engaged in insubordinate behavior. Thompson Construction fired the pipefitter foreman following the incident. The EEOC’s complaint charges that Thompson Construction does not discharge Caucasian foremen whose subordinate employees engage in verbal disputes with them or for reasons similar to the reasons it discharged the black pipefitter foreman. The EEOC asserts that Thompson Construction actually fired the pipefitter foreman because of his race.

This alleged behavior violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from engaging in unlawful employment practices on the basis of race. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Thompson Con­struction Group, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-00406) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

“Federal law prohibits employers from treating workers differently because of race, plainly and simply,” said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “The EEOC will continue to work to combat such misconduct in the American workplace.”

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