Company to pay $40,000 to settle EEOC racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit
Posted July 7, 2016
A New York-based real estate management company will pay a total of $40,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging racial harassment and retaliation.
According to EEOC's complaint, from late 2007 through November 2011, the two plaintiffs worked at a residential complex in Greenville, South Carolina, that was managed by a New York-based real estate management company. During that period, the complaint alleged that the two were repeatedly subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial comments and slurs made by a white coworker, including repeated use of the "N" word. Although the plaintiffs made multiple complaints to the coworker and management about harassment, the racial epithets continued. EEOC said the plaintiffs were fired in November 2011 in retaliation for complaining about the harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from allowing a racially hostile work environment to exist in the workplace, and also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who oppose such discriminatory conduct. EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Greenville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to providing monetary relief to the former employees, the company entered into a three-year consent decree that provides for injunctive relief preventing the real estate management company from subjecting any employee to harassment based on race, and from retaliating against anyone who complains about such harassment. The decree also requires the company to adopt, implement, and post an anti-discrimination policy and provide annual anti-discrimination training at its North and South Carolina facilities. Finally, the company must provide EEOC with semi-annual reports of written and verbal complaints of unwelcome racial conduct made by employees.
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