EEOC Lawsuit Uses Federal Law To Protect Employee Claiming Race & National Origin Harassment & Retaliation
On May 24, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) entered into a Consent Decree with American Casting & Equipment, Inc. (“American Casting”) which settled an employment discrimination lawsuit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. American Casting & Equipment, Inc., brought by the EEOC on behalf of an employee of American Casting, Matthew Clark (“Clark”), in the U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota. In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Clark was subjected to hostile work environment harassment on the basis of his race, Asian, and national origin, Filipino. The EEOC also claimed that Clark was fired in retaliation for complaining about the racial and national origin harassment against him in the workplace.
Clark worked for American Casting from November 2012 until January 2014 as a laborer. The EEOC alleged that Clark’s Caucasian manager harassed him because of his race and national origin. The EEOC asserted that the manager’s harassment included racial slurs, such as calling Clark a “non-white m—f— r,” “non-white guy,” “spic,” n—r,” “monkey” and “ape.” The harassment also included an incident where the manager urinated on Clark’s legs while he was working under a truck at work. The EEOC claimed that Clark’s supervisor witnessed the harassment, but failed to take any action to prevent the harassment. The EEOC further alleged that the harassment continued despite Clark’s complaints to his supervisor and the safety manager. The EEOC claimed that American Casting fired Clark in retaliation for his discrimination complaints and American Casting’s Reasons for Clark’s termination were a pretext for retaliation. In the lawsuit, the EEOC maintained that the hostile work environment harassment and retaliatory discharge violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In the Consent Decree settling the lawsuit, which was signed by U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland on May 24, 2016, American Casting agreed to pay Mr. Clark $250,000 to resolve his case. American Casting also agreed to provide training to all of its management and supervisory personnel on federal law prohibitions against race and national origin discrimination, and retaliation against employees who complain about discrimination. American Casting was also required to annually provide the EEOC with a list of all employee complaints regarding race discrimination, national origin discrimination, and retaliation, including the facts of the complaints and a description of American Casting’s response to the complaints.
The American Casting case illustrates that employees are protected by Florida and federal law against race and national origin-based harassment in the workplace. When an employer has notice that an employee is being subjected to racial or national origin harassment, the employer is required to take prompt remedial action to prevent the harassment from recurring in the future. An employer, such as American Casting, generally receives notice of harassing behavior through a complaint by the employee-victim, such as Clark. The American Casting case further demonstrates that employees are protected by Florida and federal law against retaliation for complaining about racial or national origin harassment in the workplace.
We have extensive experience representing employees who have been the victims of racial and national origin harassment, and employees who have been retaliated against for complaining about racial and national origin harassment. If you have been the victim of racial or national origin harassment, or if you have been retaliated against for complaining about racial or national origin harassment at work, please contact our office for a free consultation. Located in Ocala, Florida, we represent employees in employment law matters throughout Central Florida, including Alachua County, Lake County, Levy County, Marion County, Orange County, Pinellas County, Sumter County, and Volusia County.