Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


EEOC Alleged Country Mart Grocers Subjected African American Employee to Racial Slurs

ST. LOUIS -- Town & Country Grocers of Fredericktown, Missouri, Inc., doing business as Country Mart Grocery (Country Mart), will pay $27,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a female African American worker, the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC had alleged in the litigation that co-workers and a supervisor told racist jokes and directed racial slurs at Sandra Ross, a cook and deli clerk in the company’s Park Hills, Mo., store. Some of the slurs were written on a wall and in a note taped on a door. Country Mart management failed to respond to Ross’s complaints about the harassment. Ross, the only African American employee in the Park Hills store, resigned as a result of the racially hostile work environment.

The proposed consent decree was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Case No. 1:08cv149). In addition to the $27,000 in damages Country Mart agreed to pay Ross, the store also agreed to report any future complaints of race discrimination or harassment to the EEOC for a period of three years and to provide training covering racial harassment and discrimination, at least annually, to all managers during the same period. The supervisory employee, who admitted using a racial epithet in reference to Ross, has since been terminated by Country Mart.

“No one should have to face racial slurs as part of her job,” said EEOC’s St. Louis District Director James R. Neely, Jr. “In these uncertain economic times it is especially important that the EEOC remain vigilant in its enforcement of federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.”

At the time the EEOC filed suit, Country Mart owned and operated 41 grocery/convenience stores in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

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

This page was last modified on May 28, 2009.

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