A crew member who was the only black person working for a company faced a never-ending barrage of racist comments. Things came to a head when a manager introduced the black worker to a new employee as “the n-gg-r who works here.”
During his employment at Eagle United Truck Wash, Milton, PA, Peter Holmes, the only black employee of the company, was often mistreated because of his race.
For instance, coworkers frequently referred to Holmes as “n-gg-r” and “towelhead.” Two managers called Holmes “n-gg-r” every day. Although Holmes’s supervisor, Fidel Lopez, often heard the racist comments, he didn’t try to stop the offensive behavior.
Holmes frequently confronted Lopez about the troubling behavior, but Lopez still refused to take action. When someone covered an “Employees’ Rights” poster in the break room with a piece of paper that read “N-gg-rs’ Rights,” Holmes again complained to Lopez. Nonetheless, the poster was kept up for several days before it was eventually taken down. Even then, though, the poster wasn’t thrown out. Holmes later noticed it taped to the belongings of another supervisor.
Things took a turn for the worse when an employee joined the company and a manager introduced Holmes to the new worker as “the n-gg-r who works here.” Again, Holmes complained to Lopez.
On the same day that Holmes complained, he was terminated. Holmes contacted the EEOC.
The EEOC sued Eagle United Truck Wash for race discrimination, pointing to the racially offensive behavior as evidence of bias.
The company lost. It paid $40,000 to settle the lawsuit.
Based on EEOC v. Eagle United Truck Wash.
(From the Jan. 10, 2020 issue of HR Manager’s Legal Alert for Supervisors)