LEGAL BRIEF: Nothing Like a Good Old Noose to Start the Day!
Dollins Construction Punished Black Workers for Complaining About Noose Display, Racist Comments, Federal Agency Charged
ST. LOUIS – Dollins Construction Company of Morley, Mo., has settled a race harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on May 24th. The EEOC’s suit, which was filed last September, charged that Dollins, an unincorporated business, violated federal law by racially harassing three African American construction workers and then taking reprisals against them when one complained.
In its lawsuit (Case No. 1:09-cv-00137), the EEOC alleged that three black construction workers were subjected to unlawful racial harassment at a work site in Corydon, Ind., in the fall of 2006, which included the use of racially charged comments and the display of a noose. The suit said that after one of the victims complained about the conduct to the owner of the business in Scott County, Mo., they were not sent out on any further jobs.
Racial harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, provides for the payment of $15,000 for lost wages and compensatory damages, implementation of an effective anti-discrimination policy, training for all management employees and reporting and monitoring requirements.
“No matter how small an employer may be or how limited its resources, the EEOC will use the full measure of the law to eradicate racist displays from any place of employment,” said EEOC District Director James R. Neely, Jr.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.