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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
8-3-12

Caldwell Freight Lines to Pay $120,000 to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Freight Delivery Company Refused to Hire Blacks, Federal Agency Charged

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Caldwell Freight Lines, Inc., a former Lenoir, N.C.- based trucking delivery company, will pay $120,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  

The EEOC alleged that Caldwell discriminated against Desmond Burch and other black applicants by refusing to hire them because of their race, African-American, in April 2010.  According to the lawsuit, Caldwell had vacancies for dock workers and accepted applications from approximately 51 individuals.  Burch and several other black applicants had dock worker experience and were qualified for the job.  Despite their qualifications, neither Burch nor any of the other black applicants were hired.  Instead Caldwell hired whites and other non-blacks for the jobs.  Further, the EEOC alleged that one of Caldwell’s high level managers at the facility commented that he “didn’t want any blacks on the dock.”  During the time period covered by the lawsuit, no blacks were employed as dock workers at the facility.  Caldwell is no longer in operation.  

Race discrimination 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. 

In addition to the $120,000 in monetary damages to be shared by the black applicants involved in the lawsuit, the consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Caldwell Freight Lines, Inc., Case No. 5:11CV00134, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Statesville Division), includes prospective injunctive relief in the event Caldwell restarts operations in the future.  The injunctive relief enjoins the company from discriminating on the basis of race, or any other protected category, or engaging in retaliation within the meaning of Title VII.  The decree also requires the redistribution of the company’s discrimination/harassment policy and requires the company to provide annual training on race discrimination and retaliation to the company’s managers, supervisors and employees.  Finally, if it resumes business operations, Caldwell must report complaints of race discrimination and information regarding its hiring practices during the term of the decree.

“Unfortunately, race discrimination in hiring continues despite the passage of Title VII nearly 50 years ago, and African-Americans are often the victims,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District office.  “The EEOC will continue to prosecute cases where the evidence indicates that any form of race discrimination has occurred.  All races are entitled to equal opportunity in the workplace.”

Tina Burnside, supervisory trial attorney in the Charlotte District Office added “Employment should be based on ability and qualifications, not irrelevant factors such as race. The EEOC will continue to fight to ensure that people are not denied work simply because of their race.” 

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available at its website at www.eeoc.gov.