Overview: After a manager suggested that a Black job applicant would make a good hire, his boss told him, “No n-gg-rs will ever work for this company.”
The scenario: When Randy Englebert, the owner of Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc., Summerdale, AL, asked one of his employees, Beatrice Taylor, to show him photos of her grandchildren, Taylor was hesitant. After all, her grandchildren were mixed race, and Taylor had reason to believe Englebert was a racist.
Eventually, however, Taylor showed the photos to him. As soon as Englebert saw the mixed-race grandchildren, he said, “We don’t need their kind here.” He also suggested that Taylor’s grandchildren would have to use separate restrooms. Then he fired Taylor because of her association with Black people.
Englebert also refused to hire Black workers. He told recruiters to write the race of each candidate on job applications, stating, “Blacks are a waste of my time.”
When a supervisor told Englebert that one job seeker was Black, he said, “You might as well throw that application away.”
One white manager, Robert DeFrancesco, said he thought a Black applicant would work out well, but Englebert said to him, “No n-gg-rs will ever work for this company.”
DeFrancesco fought back, stating that he was uncomfortable with Englebert’s refusal to hire Black workers. He was fired.
DeFrancesco contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Legal challenge: The EEOC sued Climatemp for race discrimination.
The ruling: The company lost. In order to resolve the lawsuit, Engelbert agreed to pay $175,000 and to start hiring Black job seekers.
Based on EEOC v. Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc.
(From the April 20, 2021, issue of HR Manager’s Legal Alert for Supervisors. To start you no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)