Workers Found Scrawled Racial Slurs and Noose at Apple Park Construction Site, Federal Agency Charges
CUPERTINO, Calif. - A San Jose-based electrical subcontractor at the Apple Park construction project, Air Systems Inc. (ASI), violated federal law by tolerating racial harassment of African American workers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.
According to EEOC's suit, the racial harassment included racist graffiti of swastikas and racial epithets drawn on the walls of the portable toilets at the Apple Park construction project, as well as a noose hung at the worksite with a scrawled note containing use of the racial insults, other expletives, and a threat of lynching. In addition, the company failed to act when notified by two African American employees that a white coworker had taunted them with a racial slur and called one of them "boy."
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits harassment due to race and requires employers to take prompt action to investigate and stop the misconduct after they receive notice of it. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Air Systems, Inc., 5:19-cv-07574) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. The EEOC's lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.
"Federal civil rights law requires that employers take workplace harassment seriously," said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney Roberta Steele. "When alerted to the ugly and hateful speech and acts in this case, an employer must take swift and effective corrective action."
William Tamayo, the EEOC's San Francisco District director, added, "Employers must proactively prevent hate speech and threats. It's disappointing that such behavior took place in the 21st century and at the heart of the Bay Area's innovative tech community."
According to its website at https://www.airsystemsinc.com, ASI is part of the EMCOR Group, Inc., (NYSE: EME), a Fortune 500 company that provides mechanical and electrical construction, industrial and energy infrastructure, and building services for a diverse range of businesses and government with estimated 2019 revenues of $8.8B - $8.9B and over 33,000 employees. ASI is located in San Jose, Calif., and employs approximately 500 employees statewide.
The 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.