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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
3-9-12

Atsalis Brothers Painting Company to Pay $65,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

Painter Lost Job Due to Complaints About Racism,  Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT – Atsalis Brothers Painting Company,  a Warren, Mich.-based painting company which does business in several states,  will pay $65,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Atsalis unlawfully  retaliated against an employee for objecting to race discrimination.

In its lawsuit filed in 2011, the  EEOC said that Atsalis retaliated against Rodney Trice, a journeyman painter,  who complained about the use of the “N-word” by his foreman, by not bringing  him back to work for the 2008 work season. (EEOC v. Atsalis Bros. Painting  Co., Civil Action No. 11-cv-11296).

Race discrimination and retaliation  for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of  1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to  reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The approval of the consent decree  by Judge Victoria A. Roberts brings a formal end to the litigation between the  EEOC and Atsalis. In addition to paying  $65,000 to Trice, the decree requires the company to provide ongoing anti-discrimination  training to all of the company’s officers, managers, supervisors and human  resources personnel; create a new anti-discrimination policy; institute new  procedures for handling discrimination complaints; and file reports with the  EEOC regarding compliance with the decree’s requirements.

“The right of an employee to object  to discriminatory conduct without fear of being punished by his employer is  fundamental to ensuring equal employment opportunity,” said EEOC Trial Attorney  Dale Price. “Employers should encourage  such objection, not penalize it.”

In addition to Price, EEOC  Supervisory Trial Attorney Kenneth Bird and Regional Attorney Laurie Young led  the government’s litigation.

The EEOC’s Detroit Field Office is  responsible for processing charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct  of agency litigation in Michigan and part of Northwestern Ohio. The

EEOC is responsible for enforcing  federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.