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Press Release 08-24-2022

Suisan Company, Ltd to Pay $90,000 to Settle EEOC Race Harassment Lawsuit

Warehouse Worker Subjected to Racial Harassment and Retaliated Against, Federal Agency Charged

HONOLULU – Suisan Company, Limited (Suisan), a food distributor on the island of Hawaii, has agreed to pay $90,000 and provide other relief to resolve a race harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an African American warehouse employee was subjected to  unwelcome comments because of his race. After complaining to management about the comments, the employee was suspended and then terminated.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrim­ination on the basis of race and retaliation for reporting a claim against such discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (Case No.: 1:21-cv-00397-DKW-KJM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, Suisan has agreed to put in place effective measures that will address and prevent discrimination in the workplace. These measures include the designation of an equal opportunity monitor to ensure compliance with Title VII and the provisions of the consent decree; reviewing, revising, implementing, and distributing companywide policies addressing discrimination and harassment which include a clear explanation of prohibited conduct; putting in place mechanisms to take prompt corrective action; outlining an internal complaint process; providing anti-discrimination training; and revising performance evaluations that include measures for compliance with the company’s harassment policy. The decree will remain under the court’s jurisdiction for two years.

“Even though Hawaii is a racially and culturally diverse state, we continue to see race discrimination and harassment complaints filed with our agency in this region,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction. “Suisan has agreed to put in place measures to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace. Other employers should take note and review their current practices to make sure they are complying with federal law.”

“Retaliation is the most alleged discrimination complaint filed with the EEOC. Employees have the right to report discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and employers have an obligation to ensure they are not retaliating against employees who complain,” said EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office Director Raymond Griffin, Jr.

For more information about race discrimination, visit the EEOC’s website at . More information about retaliation can be found at .

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.