Friday, February 13, 2009

LEGAL BRIEF: The EEOC Settles Case of an African American Greeter Fired by JC Penny due to Race

NEW YORK -- J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. will pay $50,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on February 12th.

The EEOC had charged that J.C. Penney discriminated against Reinell Singh, an African American who worked as a greeter welcoming customers into Penney’s Staten Island store. The EEOC's lawsuit says that Singh's supervisor referred to her several times using racially offensive names and subsequently fired her for racial reasons.

In addition to the $50,000 in compensatory damages to be paid to Singh, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., Civil Action No.06 5192 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York) includes injunctive relief enjoining J.C. Penney from race discrimination or retaliation; requiring the adoption of a non-discrimination policy and complaint procedures; anti-discrimination training; posting of a notice about the EEOC and the lawsuit; a memorandum setting forth the requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to all store employees; monitoring and reporting.

In spite of advances since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted 44 years ago, race discrimination still remains one of the most pervasive problems in today’s workplace,” said Spencer H. Lewis, director of the EEOC’s New York District Office. “Racial slurs must simply not be tolerated, and the EEOC will fight to eradicate any such discrimination from the workplace.”

Konrad Batog, the EEOC’s trial attorney assigned to the case, added, “All employees have a right to be judged by their work performance and not their race. This consent decree will help make sure that what happened to Ms. Singh does not happen to any other J.C. Penney employee.”

The EEOC is the government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's web site at



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