Press Release 09-28-2017

Floyd's Equipment Sued for Racial Harassment and Retaliation

Sikeston Contractor Demoted and Then Fired Employee for Complaining About Racial Slurs, Federal Agency Charges

ST. LOUIS - A Sikeston, Mo., contractor violated federal law when it subjected an employee to racial harassment and then retaliated against him when he complained about the mistreatment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a discrimination lawsuit filed today in federal court.

According to the EEOC's suit, a foreman at Floyd's Equipment repeatedly used the slur "n----r" toward employees and over the company radio. After an African-American employee complained about the harassment, the foreman angrily confronted the employee. Rather than disciplining the harasser, the contractor transferred the employee from his assignment as a backhoe operator to a less desirable job doing pick-and-shovel work in another state, according to the suit. Finally, the EEOC said, Floyd's fired him.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from racial harassment and retaliation for reporting or complaining about such misconduct. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Case No. 4:17-cv-175 SNLJ, after first attempting to reach a pre-suit resolution through the agency's conciliation process.

"Despite the progress we have seen over the last half century, racial harassment continues to occur in too many American workplaces," said James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District. "When workers experience such misconduct, they should report it - both to their employers and to the EEOC."

Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis, said, "Instead of punishing employees who challenge race discrimination and harassment, employers should encourage workers to report such intolerable behavior. There is no legitimate reason for employers to tolerate racial harassment in the workplace."

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