The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-28-09

EEOC SUES DOLLINS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOR RACE DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION AGAINST BLACK WORKERS

Suit Cites Racist Comments, Noose and Retaliation for Complaints

ST. LOUIS – Dollins Construction Company of Sikeston, Mo., violated federal law by racially harassing three African American construction workers and then taking reprisals against them when they complained, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

In its lawsuit (Case No. 1:09-cv-00137), filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, the EEOC says that Buford McClendon, Anthony Jones and Eric Moore were subjected to unlawful racial harassment at a work site in Corydon, Ind., in the fall of 2006 by supervisors Joe and Roy Dollins, brothers of the company’s owner, Philip Dollins. The harassment included the use of racially charged comments and the display and use of a noose. The suit said that after one of the victims complained about the Dollins brothers’ conduct to Philip Dollins, he did not send any of them out on any other jobs.

“All racist displays are unacceptable, but a noose is a particularly cruel and violent symbol that should be eradicated from any place of employment,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin, and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“A noose is a historical symbol of racial hatred and cannot be tolerated in the workplace,” said Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC's St. Louis District. “Employers have an absolute duty to prevent their managers from engaging in this kind of egregious racial harassment. Retaliation for complaints of racial harassment further violates the law.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.


This page was last modified on September 28, 2009.

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