U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Company Harassed, Underpaid and Forced Black Maintenance Worker Out of Job, Federal Agency Charges
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Union City, Tenn., pork company violated federal law when it engaged in race discrimination by paying an African-American maintenance worker less than others and subjecting him to a hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed September 30, 2010. The EEOC also charged that Williams Country Sausage forced him out of his job.
The EEOC’s suit, Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-01263, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, asserted that Williams Sausage violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it gave raises and paid higher salaries to all maintenance department employees except the department’s lone African-American employee and allowed a supervisor to regularly use racially offensive language toward the employee because of racial animus. The EEOC also alleges that the man had to quit his job to escape the abuse.
The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement, and an injunction against future discrimination.
“Sadly, race discrimination continues to exist in the workplace where workers are paid less and subjected to harassment. Addressing such conduct remains a priority for the Commission,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi.
Williams Country Sausage processes meat and produces breakfast pork sausage products and sausage biscuit sandwiches for retail.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.