Michigan Seamless Refused to Hire Class of Black Applicants, Agency Charged
DETROIT – A South Lyon, Mich., steel tubing company will pay one half million dollars and implement injunctive relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Michigan Seamless Tube, after purchasing the assets of its predecessor company, refused to hire a class of African American former employees of the predecessor.
According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 05-73719 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), Michigan Seamless began hiring former employees of the predecessor in November 2002. During the company startup, 52 of the former employees were hired -- none of them black. Michigan Seamless continued to hire former employees through 2005, but no African American employees of the previous company were ever hired. Many white employees hired had significantly less experience than the black former employees represented by the EEOC, and in some cases had actually been trained by the same African American employees who were denied hire. The suit also included other black applicants who were denied hire in favor of less qualified white applicants.
The EEOC asserted that Michigan Seamless’s conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination in employment.
Under the consent decree settling the suit, Michigan Seamless will pay $500,000, to be distributed to the class members based on an individualized determination. Michigan Seamless is also required to recruit black applicants by a variety of methods, and will provide training on anti-discrimination laws to all its employees, managers and executive officers.
“This case shows that race discrimination is still a major problem in today’s workplace, more than 40 years after passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act,” said Trina Mengesha, the EEOC attorney who litigated the case. “We trust that management at Michigan Seamless will change its practices and permanently stop discriminating against qualified black applicants.”
She also noted that on February 28, 2007, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp launched the Commission's E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment), a national outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race and color issues in the 21st century workplace. Further information about the E-RACE Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/e-race/index.html.
In Fiscal Year 2006, the EEOC received 27,238 charges alleging race-based discrimination, accounting for 36 percent of the agency's private sector caseload. Historically, race-based charges have been the most frequent type of filing with EEOC offices nationwide.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on June 8, 2007.
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