EEOC wins suit over race bias in AZ.
L&W SUPPLY CORP. TO PAY $49,500 FOR RACE BIAS
EEOC Said Company Supervisor Used Racial Slurs, Based Work Assignments on Race
PHOENIX – L&W Supply Corporation has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for nearly $50,000 and other relief on behalf of an
African American employee who was subjected to discrimination based on race, the federal agency
The EEOC maintained in its suit that L &W Supply Corporation, which operated Coyote
Building Materials, assigned African American employee Kevin Hamilton and his team member,
Ricardo Lopez-Gonzales, to less desirable and lower-paying jobs because of Hamilton’s race. The
EEOC charged that the L&W supervisor responsible for determining job assignments referred to
Hamilton using racial slurs, including racial slurs in Spanish and use of the “N-word.”
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits
employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy or sexual
harassment) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from
retaliation. The EEOC filed suit (No. 07-CV-1364-PHX-JWS) after first attempting to reach a
voluntary settlement out of court.
“An employee’s race should not impact his paycheck,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo
O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, who oversaw the case. “In the current economy, the
consequences of discriminatory pay decisions can be especially devastating.”
“The battle to eliminate race-based discrimination from the workplace is far from over,” said
EEOC Phoenix Trial Attorney Valerie Meyer. “We still see egregious instances of racial bias at job
sites across the country, as evidenced by this case and many others.”
In addition to paying $49,500, the EEOC settlement by consent decree requires L&W Supply
Corporation to provide training and other relief aimed at educating its employees about race
discrimination and their rights under Title VII.
Acting EEOC Phoenix District Director Rayford Irvin added, “It is the responsibility of every
employer to make sure that its decisions about work assignments and pay are free of race
In Fiscal Year 2008, the EEOC received 33,937 charges alleging race-based discrimination.
The number of race-based charges has increased each year since 2005. Historically, race-based
charges have been the most frequent type of filing with EEOC offices nationwide.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information
about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
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