U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Bishopville Plant Subjected African-American Employee to Racial Abuse and Fired Him for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, a Bishopville, S.C. based metal finishing company, will pay $40,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a race harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
Tieron L. Parks worked as a powder coater at the Bishopville plant. According to the EEOC's complaint, from around October 2011 until around May 21, 2012, Parks was repeatedly subjected to racial slurs by two white employees. The comments included repeated use of the "N-word." The EEOC alleged Parks complained to company management, but the harassment continued. Within hours of his final complaint on or around May 21, 2012, Parks was fired, the EEOC said, in retaliation for his complaints of racial harassment.
Race discrimination, including racial harassment, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also protects employees and applicants from retaliation for making complaints about discrimination. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division (EEOC v. Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-03815-MBS-PJG) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to paying $40,000 in monetary relief, the company must abide by the terms of a two-year consent decree resolving the case. The consent decree enjoins Carolina Metal from engaging in future racial discrimination. The decree also requires the company to conduct anti-discrimination training at its Bishopville facility; post a notice about the settlement at that facility; implement a formal anti-discriminatory policy prohibiting racial discrimination; and report certain complaints of conduct that could constitute discrimination under Title VII to the EEOC for monitoring.
"We are pleased that Carolina Metal Finishing settled this case, and that the company will provide training to employees on federal anti-discrimination laws," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Racial discrimination remains a problem in today's workplaces and a major concern to our agency. The EEOC will continue to fight for the rights of employees affected by such illegal employment practices."
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.