U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Company Subjected Employee of Pakistani Origin to Harassment, Federal Agency Charged
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rugo Stone, LLC, a Fairfax County, Va.-based stone contracting company, agreed to pay $40,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a national origin, religion and color discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. Rugo Stone has worked on a variety of high-profile buildings in Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the International Monetary Fund, the American Red Cross and the Newseum, as well as the embassies of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the EEOC’s suit, from around January 2007 through around January 2009, Shazad Buksh, an estimator and assistant project manager for Rugo Stone, was subjected to derogatory comments from his supervisors, project manager and the company’s owner on the basis of his national origin (Pakistani), religion (Islam), and color (brown). The EEOC said that the comments occurred almost daily and included things like Buksh being called a “Paki-princess” and told he was the same color as human feces. The lawsuit also alleged that Buksh was told that his religion (Islam), was “f---ing backwards,” and “f---ing crazy,” and was asked why Muslims are such “monkeys.” Finally, the lawsuit alleged that Buksh complained about the conduct and comments, but the harassment continued.
Harassment based on national origin, religion, and/or skin color violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Rugo Stone, LLC.; Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-915 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Pursuant to the three-year consent decree resolving the litigation, Rugo Stone agreed to pay $40,000 in monetary relief to Buksh. In addition, Rugo Stone must take other actions set forth in the consent decree resolving the case, including redistributing the company’s anti-harassment policy to each of its current employees; posting its anti-harassment policies in all of its facilities and work sites; providing anti-harassment training to its managers, supervisors and employees; and posting a notice about the settlement. Further, Rugo Stone is enjoined from engaging in any further discrimination against any person on the basis of color, national origin, or religion and has agreed to be monitored by the EEOC for the term of the decree.
“Employers must remember that federal law prohibits harassment based on national origin, religion and color,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. “This case and its resolution should serve as a reminder that the EEOC will protect workers from employment discrimination, including harassment.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.