Employee Fired for Complaints About Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
HOUSTON - An employee who opposed workplace harassment was fired by a group of Texas transportation brokerage companies in violation of federal law, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The EEOC sued Amino Transport (Civil Action No. 4:09-cv-03142) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, charging that the company retaliated against Joshua Male. In July 2008, Male complained to the human resources manager about workplace comments he witnessed being made to various coworkers by two other coworkers. The remarks he complained about allegedly included disparaging comments about a pregnant female co-worker, unflattering comments about women in general, racial comments about African Americans, and persistent inappropriate jokes about Mormons. The HR manager reported Male's complaints to Amino Transport's general manager and Male was fired within less than a week. According to the EEOC's suit, Amino Transport, Inc., Chariot Express, Inc., and Amino Chariot Management, LLC (Amino Transport) operate as an integrated enterprise.
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 and pregnancy) or national origin, and prohibits employers from retaliating against those who complain about such misconduct. The EEOC filed the lawsuit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
R.J. Ruff, Jr., director of the agency's Houston District Office, said, "Mr. Male's discharge was deeply offensive and strikes at the heart of Title VII's assurance that employees who report discriminatory conduct in the workplace need not fear the loss of their job for doing so."
The agency is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in retaliation. Also, the EEOC is seeking back wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages and other relief.
According to their web sites, both Amino Transport and Chariot Express are transportation brokerage companies, providing transportation solutions to their customers and carriers. The companies share an office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Amino Transport has an office in the Houston area where Mr. Male had worked. Amino Chariot Management LLC is the parent company.
"The EEOC will not allow employees to be victimized for asserting their legal rights," said Jim Sacher, the EEOC's regional attorney in Houston. "We will enforce the retaliation provisions of anti-discrimination laws vigorously to make sure that employees are not dissuaded from exerting their rights to a workplace free from harassment and discrimination."
The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on September 29, 2009.
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