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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
1-7-13

Emmert International to Pay $180,000 to Settle EEOC Race Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Heavy Haul Transportation Company Allowed Environment of Racial Abuse and Retaliated Against Employee for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged

PHOENIX - Emmert International agreed to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that charged the company harassed and retaliated against employees in violation of federal law, the EEOC announced today. 

The EEOC's lawsuit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Emmert Industrial Corp., d/b/a Emmert International, No. 2:11-CV-00920CW, charged Emmert International with harassing Jonathan Redmon and John Brainich during Emmert's work on the Odd Fellows Hall project in Salt Lake City.  The lawsuit alleged that the foreman and other Emmert employees repeatedly harassed Redmon and Brainich. Emmert's foreman and employees regularly used the "n-word," called Redmon "boy," called Brainich a "n---- lover," and made racial jokes and comments.  The EEOC also alleged that Emmert International retaliated against Redmon for complaining about the harassment.

Racial harassment and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

The 24- month consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Clark Waddoups, requires Emmert International to pay $180,000 to Redmon and Brainich, provide training to its staff on unlawful employment discrimination, and to review and revise its policies on workplace discrimination.  The decree also requires Emmert International to post notices explaining federal laws against workplace discrimination.

"Egregious racial harassment and retaliation are against the law, and employers must know that this type of conduct cannot be tolerated," EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill said.  "We are pleased with the resolution of this case, and we are hopeful that this agreement will help highlight the need to prevent discrimination in the workplace going forward."

EEOC Phoenix District Director Rayford O. Irvin said, "Employees everywhere should know that they do not have to tolerate racial harassment and that employees cannot be punished for standing up to this kind of unlawful harassment."

The EEOC's Phoenix District has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and part of New Mexico.  The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.