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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
3-7-12

Rugo Stone to Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC National Origin, Religion and Color Bias Lawsuit

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.