U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EEOC Says Atsalis Brothers Painting Fired Worker Over Complaint About Racial Slur
DETROIT – A Clinton Township, Mich., industrial painting company illegally retaliated against a journeyman painter by terminating him for complaining about a supervisor’s use of the “N-word,” the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Case No. 2:11CV11296, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Atsalis Brothers Painting Company refused to call Rodney Trice back to work in retaliation for his complaints about a white supervisor’s repeated use of the racial slur. Trice said that the word was used repeatedly on the job site.
Retaliation against an employee for complaining about racial harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief to prevent the company from engaging in any further retaliatory employment practices, as well as monetary relief for Trice.
“Employees have a statutory right to complain about racial harassment without fear of reprisal,” said Laurie Young, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Michigan. “Employers are only making a bad situation worse when they punish their workers for opposing discriminatory behavior in the workplace.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.