South Carolina trucking companies sued for racial harassment

EEOC says working conditions forced black employees to resign

Posted September 12, 2016

Two interconnected South Carolina trucking companies allegedly violated federal law when they subjected black employees to a racially hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed in a lawsuit on September 7. The working conditions forced many of the companies’ black employees to resign, according to EEOC's complaint.

According to agency’s suit, the companies subjected multiple employees to racial harassment in 2013 and 2014 which involved frequent use of the “N-word” by the companies' owner. The complaint further alleges that some employees heard the owner make derogatory comments about African-Americans, such as comments that black people cannot read and write.

An employee who worked for the defendant companies from approximately June 2013 to January 2014, was one of two employees who filed a discrimination charge with EEOC based on the harassment. EEOC's complaint alleges he was forced to resign his employment around January 25, 2014, because he could no longer tolerate the owner's racist comments. Another employee who worked for the companies from approximately April 2013 to June 2014, also filed a discrimination charge with EEOC based on the harassment. EEOC's complaint alleges that he also quit because of the owner's racist comments.

EEOC also seeks damages for a class of current and former black employees who were subjected to the owner's misconduct. The complaint states that many of those victims also quit their jobs with the companies because of the racial harassment.

EEOC seeks monetary relief, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, for workers filing the complaints, and all other black employees who were subjected to the racial harassment. EEOC also seeks injunctive relief against the companies to prevent future harassment.

Notably, in February 2014, EEOC sued the companies and other affiliated companies for the sexual harassment of a female employee. EEOC's complaint alleged that the companies' owner — the same person who EEOC alleges is responsible for the racial harassment in the present lawsuit — was the individual who perpetrated the sexual harassment. EEOC settled the lawsuit with a consent decree with those companies, which became effective in March 2016.

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