Manager Replaced Black Workers With Whites and Hispanics In Order to "Sprinkle a Little Salt," Federal Agency Charged
OKLAHOMA CITY - Automobile detailing business OnSite Solutions, LLC will pay $50,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. EEOC charged that OnSite Solutions and two other entities were liable for racially discriminatory conduct by an affiliated company, On Sight K.C., LLC, which performed automobile detailing services for Joe Cooper Ford in Midwest City, Okla.
According to EEOC's lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Onsite Solutions, LLC, Dealership Management Services, Inc. and DMS-OK, Inc., 5:15-cv-01066-C), filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in 2015, On Sight K.C. demoted one employee and fired three others because they were African-American.
EEOC said that On Sight's area manager told Douglas Williams, the African-American manager of its detailing crew at Joe Cooper Ford, that On Sight wanted to "sprinkle a little salt" at the worksite. The area manager explained that he meant terminating black employees and replacing them with "whites and Mexicans." Within a few days, Williams was demoted and replaced by a Hispanic manager, who then fired three African-American detailers and hired one Hispanic and two Caucasian employees.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race. Williams reported On Sight's conduct to EEOC. After EEOC began its investigation, On Sight dissolved its business and divided its clients between OnSite Solutions, LLC and two other related entities. The three companies shared a combination of owners, employees, and clients with the original On Sight. EEOC's claims against the other two defendants - Dealership Management Services, Inc., and DMS-OK, Inc. - are still pending and were not resolved by this consent decree.
In addition to monetary relief for the four employees, the three-year consent decree resolving the claims against OnSite Solutions enjoins the company from discriminating against employees based on race in the future. The decree also requires the company to take specific actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including revising its equal employment opportunity policies, posting and distributing an anti-discrimination notice to employees, and training management and supervisory employees.
"After decades of civil rights law enforcement, racism in the workplace remains a persistent problem," said James R. Neely, Jr., director of EEOC's St. Louis District Office. "Regardless of an employer's personal beliefs, or the preferences of their clients, they may not make employment decisions based on race."
Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for EEOC's St. Louis District, said, "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 remains as relevant today as when it was enacted. And when employers violate the law, they may not evade liability for their discriminatory conduct by corporate restructuring."
Clarifying the application of workplace civil rights protections in light of the increasing complexity of employment relationships and structures is one of the emerging and developing issues which the Commission has identified as a top priority in its new Strategic Enforcement Plan.
EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov . Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates .