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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
10-2-12

Hampton Inn Franchise to Pay $85K to Settle EEOC Race and National Origin Bias Suit

Franchise Fired White and Non-Hispanic Workers Because of Negative Stereotypes, Federal Agency Charged 

DENVER - A Hampton Inn franchise in Craig, Colo., owned and operated by Century Shree Corporation, will pay $85,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race and national origin discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  The EEOC charged that the company illegally terminated employees beginning in August 2009 because of their race, Caucasian, and national origin, non-Hispanic. 

According to the EEOC, a class of employees, including Wendy Buckley, Ashlee Flannery and Dewetta McKnight, was discharged from the Craig Hampton Inn because management of the company subscribed to stereotypes that white or non-Hispanic workers were indolent.  

Employers are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from discharging employees because of their race or national origin.  The EEOC filed suit, Case No. 11-cv-2558-REB-CBS, in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

Pursuant to the consent decree settling the suit, signed by Federal District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn, the company will pay $85,000 for back pay and compensatory damages to the discrimination victims.  The decree also includes a permanent injunction against the employer that prohibits it from discriminating in the future, and requiring the owners, managers, and supervisors of the company to undergo training on federal anti-discrimination laws.  The discrimination victims will also be offered reinstatement to their original job positions at the hotel. 

"An employer cannot discharge or refuse to hire an individual based on derogatory stereotypical beliefs about that person's race or national origin," said Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix District Office.  "Employers cannot choose employees based on the color of their skin or their ancestry.  This form of blatant discrimination clearly violates federal law."

Denver EEOC Field Director Nancy Sienko explained, "Non-economic relief, as well as monetary relief, is central to the agency's mission - and we have won both in significant amounts in this case, as we usually do.  The EEOC always seeks to eradicate discrimination from the workplace so that individuals can find and maintain work based on their skills and performance and not on their race and national origin.  The consent decree in this case should ensure this."

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