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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
8-30-11

Rugo Stone Sued For Discrimination Based On National Origin, Religion, And Color

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rugo Stone,  LLC, a Fairfax County, Virginia-based stone contracting company that has worked  on a variety of high-profile buildings in Washington,  D.C., violated federal law by  subjecting a male employee to harassment based on his national origin, religion  and color, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a  lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, 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 (Pakistan), religion (Islam), and color (brown). The comments occurred almost daily and  included things like being called a “Paki-princess;” and being told he was the  same color as human feces. On one  occasion, Buksh’s supervisor exited a bathroom at Rugo Stone, placed a cup  containing feces on Buksh’s desk, and told Buksh that his skin looked like the  feces that were in the cup. The lawsuit  also alleges that Buksh was told that his religion (Islam), was “f---ing  backwards,” “f---ing crazy,” and was asked why Muslims are such “monkeys.” On one occasion, Buksh was shown a video of a  man being hanged in Iran  and at the same time was told that the activity depicted on the video was  “cool” and that Buksh’s “country and religion does it this way.” The complaint alleges 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 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria  Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Rugo Stone, LLC, Civil  Action No. 1:11-cv-915) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks compensatory and punitive  damages for Buksh, as well as injunctive relief.

“Employers need to  remember that federal law prohibits workplace harassment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional  attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District, whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. “The treatment Mr. Buksh allegedly endured is  disturbing. The EEOC is here to 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.