June 25, 2018
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Black Employees Targeted With Racial Slurs, Fired for Complaining, EEOC Says

April 8, 2009

Michael Ranis, Trial Attorney
(212) 336-3701  
Judy Keenan, Supervisory Trial Attorney
(212) 336-3705
Bryan White, Media Relations Officer
(212) 336-3670
TTY: (212) 336-3622

Black Employees Targeted With Racial Slurs, Fired for Complaining, EEOC Says

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Marjam Supply Company, Inc., a building
materials supplier, will pay $495,000 to five former employees to settle a race
discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. 

The EEOC's lawsuit (Civil Action No. 03-cv-5413-SCR in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Division)
charged that Marjam discriminated against African American employees in its
Newburgh warehouse facility on the basis of their race by subjecting them to
differential discipline and termination, creating a hostile work environment,
and retaliating against employees who objected to the discrimination. 

The EEOC charged that a Marjam supervisor and other Marjam employees
made unwelcome racial slurs and comments. The racially hostile workplace
included repeatedly calling an employee the N-word, talking about the Ku Klux
Klan and referring to burning crosses in front of African American employees. 
An employee who complained was fired, the EEOC's lawsuit charged.  Such
alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

"Egregious racial harassment still occurs in the 21st century workplace, even
though some people may think such discrimination can only be found in
history books," said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.  "Hostile work
environments are unacceptable.  The EEOC is committed to vigorous
enforcement of the employment anti-discrimination laws to ensure that every
worker has an equal opportunity to reach his or her full potential."

The consent decree was sub¬mitted to the district court judge for
approval after the parties reached a settlement agreement in mediation. In
addition to the $495,000 in back pay and compensatory damages to be paid
to five former employees, the three-year consent decree includes the
following injunctive relief:

 Adopting non-discrimination and complaint procedures;
 Appointing an Equal Employment Office Coordinator;
 Establishing a toll-free number for reporting discrimination
 Providing anti-discrimination training;
 Issuing a memorandum to all employees on Marjam's commitment to
abide by all federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination;
 Posting a notice about the EEOC, the lawsuit, and Marjam's non-
discrimination and complaint procedures; and
 Monitoring and reporting on carrying out the settlement terms. 

"Employers must recognize that they have a responsibility to
prevent racial harassment in their workplace and to take swift action to
correct any discrimination when it occurs," said Spencer H. Lewis, director of
the EEOC's New York District Office.  "In addition, retaliating against
employees for complaining about discrimination is unlawful and taken very
seriously by the Commission."

During Fiscal Year 2008, the EEOC received 33,937 race
discrimination charge filings, up 11% from the prior year.  Of the total,
approximately 8,600 race charges alleged racial harassment, up 23 percent
from nearly 7,000 such filings in FY 2007.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment
discrimination.  Further information about the federal agency is available on
its web site at www.eeoc.gov. 

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