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Claims of national origin and race discrimination along with retaliation were the basis of an EEOC lawsuit brought against a Long Island Company headquartered in Massapequa, NY in August 2017.
A&F Fire Protection Co, Inc. is a sprinkler installation company that allegedly violated federal law by allowing a hostile work environment where black and Hispanic employees were routinely subjected to racial insults.
Details of the National Origin and Race Discrimination Allegations
The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that repeated racial harassment occurred with workers being called the “N-word,” “spics,” “jigaboo,” and “wetbacks.” The company failed to take action to end the discrimination and instead either forced complaining employees to quit or fired them, which is retaliation under federal law.
Prior to filing a lawsuit, the EEOC used its conciliation process to try and reach a settlement. The lawsuit against the company seeks the following:
The EEOC New York District Office Regional Attorney Burstein pointed out that the abuse was pervasive and that upon learning about racial harassment, employers are obligated by law to ensure it stopped. The EEOC New York District Office Director Kevin Berry emphasized that retaliation against the employee who complains against discriminatory behavior is one of the EEOC’s top priorities when reviewing claims. Another EEOC Trial Attorney, Kirsten Peters reminded employers that even one utterance of a racial slur by a supervisor in a workplace constitutes a hostile work environment and can be legally actionable based on recent case law.
At the First Sign of a Discrimination Dispute, Consult with an Employment Defense Attorney
At the first sign of a discrimination dispute in your workplace, you should consult with an employment defense attorney. Had the above company consulted with an experienced lawyer instead of retaliating, it’s likely they could have made the necessary changes in employment polices and settled outside of court, avoiding the high costs of litigation and potential punitive damages that the EEOC is pursuing.
Legal Representation for Business Owners
Business owners can rely on the decades of experience that our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates have had in successfully dealing with employment issues.