Arab and Muslim Mechanic Was Abused, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO - National Tire and Battery (NTB) will pay $22,500 to a former employee to resolve a national origin and religious harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to EEOC's suit, an Arab and Muslim mechanic who worked at NTB's Orland Park, and Matteson, Ill., locations, was harassed because of his religion and national origin. Managers and co-workers regularly called the mechanic "Taliban," "al-Qaeda," "bin Laden" and "terrorist" and accused him of making bombs, EEOC alleged. EEOC also claimed that NTB was aware of the harassment because managers witnessed some of the offensive comments and the mechanic complained repeatedly to management, but the company did not stop the harassment from recurring.
Harassment based on national origin and religion violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit (EEOC and NTW, LLC d/b/a National Tire and Battery, No. 15-cv-1681) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago in June 2015 after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to requiring that NTB pay monetary relief to the former employee, the two-year consent decree resolving the case prohibits NTB from engaging in national origin or religious harassment or retaliation in the future. It also requires that NTB provide training to its managers on harassment and how to respond to complaints of harassment, submit periodic reports to the EEOC about complaints of national origin or religious harassment or retaliation, and post a notice at the Orland Park and Matteson facilities regarding the outcome of the lawsuit.
"When employers learn of harassment, the law requires that they take prompt and effective action to stop it," said John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of EEOC's Chicago District Office, which is responsible for litigation in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. "Unfortunately, that did not happen here. But we are pleased that NTB agreed to an early resolution of this case that provides for fair compensation to the employee who was harassed and implements measures that will help prevent others from suffering similar misconduct in the future."
NTB is part of the TBC Retail Group, which operates 1,200 auto service centers under the names NTB, Tire Kingdom, Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers and Big O Tire.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website, www.eeoc.gov.