Janitorial Service Unlawfully Fired Female Janitor for Complaining About Racist Slurs, Federal Agency Charges
PETERSBURG, VA. - Paramount Janitorial Services Inc., a Petersburg, Virginia based janitorial service unlawfully fired Cynthia Williams ("Williams") for complaining that her supervisor had made racist comments, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's complaint, around April 22, 2011, Williams complained to the owner of Paramount Janitorial that her supervisor, who is white, subjected Williams, who is African-American, to racist epithets and threats, including calling Williams the "N-word" and threatening to hit her with his "N----r stick." The EEOC's complaint further alleges that approximately two days later, around April 24, 2011, Williams' supervisor discharged her in retaliation for her race-related complaint.
Retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division (EEOC v. Paramount Janitorial Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:12-cv-897) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Employees should be confident that they can make their employers aware of violations of federal anti-discrimination laws without fear of reprisal," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. "The anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII are indispensable to the attainment of a workplace free of discrimination."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at