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EEOC Resolves Racial Harassment Case Alleging Employees Worked In Racial Hostile Environment

Word writing text Stop Racism. Business concept for end the antagonism directed against someone of a different race.

For more than two decades, our Citrus County, Florida employment lawyers have fought for the rights of employees who have been required to work in a racial hostile work environment. Although employers are required by federal employment discrimination law to prevent and promptly correct racial harassment in the workplace, employers continue to force their employees to endure egregious racially abusive behavior at work. In far too many cases, our Inverness, Florida employment attorneys have learned, employers require their employees to work in a racially hostile environment by doing nothing to stop known racial harassment. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida employment lawyers explain how a racial harassment lawsuit recently settled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrates that employers are under a severe duty to protect their employees from racial harassment in the workplace.

Racial Harassment Lawsuit

In a press released issued on August 10, 2021, the EEOC announced that has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a racial harassment lawsuit against CCC Group, Inc. (CCC Group). On June 2, 2020, the EEOC filed the racial harassment lawsuit, U.S. E.E.O.C. v. CCC Group, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-00610, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. In the Consent Decree, which was approved by U.S. District Court Judge Fredrick J. Scullin on August 10, 2021, CCC Group agreed to pay $420,000 to resolve the racial harassment lawsuit.

The EEOC brought the racial harassment lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of CCC Group, a man named Williams. Title VII makes race discrimination an unlawful employment practice. Under well-established law, racial harassment is a form of race discrimination prohibited by Title VII. When an employer knows or should know that an employee is being racially harassed at work, Title VII mandates that the employer take immediate and effective corrective action to stop the racial harassment. The EEOC maintains that CCC Group created and maintained a racial hostile work environment in violation of Title VII because of its failure to prevent known racial harassment from continuing.

Racial Hostile Work Environment Alleged

CCC Group is a construction company based in San Antonio, Texas. In May 2016, Williams, who is African-American, began working for CCC Group. Williams worked at CCC Group’s construction site in Ravena, New York. The EEOC claims that Williams, along with other African-American employees, were subjected to severe and pervasive racial harassment, including “numerous racist, stereotypical, and demeaning comments, slurs, jokes, and threats.”

The racial abuse directed at Williams and other African-American employees included calling them “gorillas,” “monkeys,” and “lazy.” The EEOC further alleges that African-American employees were subjected to harsher working conditions than white employees. For example, the EEOC maintains that white employees were assigned less physically demanding job duties like reviewing and placing stickers on welding jobs, while African-American employee were assigned dangerous and difficult job duties like welding high up in the air on the outside of a building under construction. Similarly, the EEOC asserts that African-American employees were required to work outdoors in the winter, while white employees were permitted to work indoors.

Worker Endures Racial Abuse In Workplace

The EEOC contends that Williams was targeted for racial abuse by white employees by calling him “boy,” “Chicken George,” and “Buckwheat.” One white employee, according to the EEOC, “repeatedly boasted to Williams that [his] ancestors had owned slaves and given their last name to slaves.” Williams was also taunted by white employees for allegedly walking funny because slaves had to get used to walking while picking cotton and putting it in a bag. Another white employee, the EEOC alleges, told other white employees, in front of Williams, that he could not be seen outside of work with Williams because it would adversely impact his ability to join a white supremacist group.

Williams was also asked by a white employee if Williams wanted to go trick-or-treating with him, telling Williams: “you don’t even have to dress up. I will dress in white and put a noose around your neck and we’ll walk down the street together.” On another occasion, a white foreman tied a rope into a noose and laid it on the ground to ensnare Williams. As Williams approached the noose, the white foreman dragged the noose on the ground in front of Williams. The EEOC contends that Williams and other African-American employees continuously complained about the racially abusive behavior in the workplace. Despite the repeated complaints of racial harassment, the EEOC maintains, CCC Group “did nothing and the harassment continued unabated.”

Lawyers For Race Discrimination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the federal government responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment discrimination law. In enforcing federal employment discrimination law, the EEOC brings lawsuits in federal court on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including employees required to work in a racial hostile environment. In a press release issued on August 10, 2021 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, Jeffrey Burstein, observed that “the allegations of racial harassment in this case were especially vicious.” In commenting on the case, the Director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, Judy Keenan, explained that “employers must take immediate and effective steps to prevent and eradicate the kind of racial harassment that was alleged in this case.”

Citrus County, FL Employment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida employment attorneys have litigated racial discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years. If you have experienced racial harassment in the workplace or have questions about your rights as a racial discrimination victim under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Inverness, Florida employment lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes racial discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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