LEGAL BRIEF: Black worker gets $60k settlement for employer's failure to give review and yearly increase
This legal brief is about a Black worker, with outstanding job performance, who was not given a performance review or a yearly salary increase. However, his White coworkers—even a poor performing White worker, who’d received customer complaints—were given reviews and salary increases.
This isn’t shocking. The performance review process and yearly increases are often where you’ll see race discrimination claims cropping up. Someone who can’t control their racial biases will have one heck of a time trying to administer a performance review and merit increase program in an impartial manner. At least this worker was able to get his case settled and to have some changes implemented in the workplace.
TRANSTECK TO PAY $60,000 TO SETTLE RACE BIAS SUIT
EEOC Said Trucking Dealership Denied Pay Increases to Black Diesel Technician
PHILADELPHIA – A Harrisburg, Pa.-based trucking dealership has agreed to pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency recently announced. The EEOC had charged that Transteck, Inc., doing business as Freightliner of Philadelphia, violated federal civil rights laws when it failed to give salary increases to a black diesel technician because of his race.
The EEOC charged in its lawsuit (Civil Action 08-2490, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania), that Transteck failed to give a pay increase to Winston Jones, because he is African American. Jones, a Philadelphia resident with over 20 years of experience as a diesel technician, began working for Transteck in 2003 at its Levittown facility. The EEOC contended that despite Jones’ stellar job performance, the company failed to give him a salary increase or performance evaluation in 2006. However, the company provided salary increases to several white diesel technicians, including an increase to a white technician who had received numerous write-ups for poor performance, poor work quality or customer complaints. The EEOC charged that Jones, who was consistently ranked among the top technicians at the facility, received no salary increase in 2006 because of his race.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate because of race. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
The five-year consent decree settling the suit, which is pending judicial approval, also contains significant equitable relief, including prohibitions against unlawful discrimination and retaliation, annual anti-discrimination training for all employees, and posting of a notice regarding this settlement.
“The law and common sense require that salary increases should be awarded based on job performance, and not on race,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The agency is satisfied that the resolution of this lawsuit, including the equitable relief and training requirements, should prevent such discrimination from occurring there in the future.”
During Fiscal Year 2008, race discrimination charges soared to a record-high level of 33,937 -- an increase of 11 percent from the prior fiscal year.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.