Wednesday, October 31, 2007

$700,000 settlement for racial discrimination

This story is about a settlement reached between the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and an employer accused of racial discrimination. No, don't fall off your chair. The date is May 2000, back before the executive branch of US government got turned into a political campaign organization.

In 2000, this was the largest monetary settlement, $700,000, for race discrimination in the State of Arizona. My guess is that the record still stands.

Here's the story:
PHOENIX - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that several African American former employees of Direct Marketing Services' Peoria, Ariz., facility will receive a total of $700,000 as part of the terms of a consent decree settling charges of racial harassment and other race-based discrimination issues filed against the company. The decree, the largest monetary settlement of a race discrimination case in the history of the agency's Phoenix office, was also approved today by federal district court Judge Stephen M. McNamee.

EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro said that each of the eleven individuals who suffered the discrimination will receive a letter of apology from the company. "This might help bring closure to the humiliation they suffered," she said, "but, from the perspective of the EEOC, it merely highlights the unfortunate fact that the American workplace is far from turning the corner on race bias. The EEOC will continue to root out racial harassment and other forms of illegal discrimination through vigorous enforcement of the laws prohibiting such practices."

The consent decree settles a lawsuit filed by the EEOC after an investigation concluded that the former employees of the telemarketing firm were racially harassed, paid unequal wages, and denied promotions at the company. Efforts by the EEOC to conciliate the charges prior to filing suit were unsuccessful.

Under the decree, which will be enforced over the next two years, Direct Marketing Services will provide mandatory training on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to all employees at its facilities. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The decree further enjoins the company from engaging in race, sex and national origin discrimination and from retaliating against anyone who opposes discrimination.

The company also has been ordered to maintain all relevant records, post a notice about its anti-discrimination policies, and to institute policies, practices, and procedures that ensure a discrimination-free working environment. One such procedure will be to evaluate supervisors, managers and human resource personnel on their performance in responding to complaints of discrimination.

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