African American Employees Subjected to Daily Racial Epithets and Fired for Complaining and Participating in EEOC Investigation, Federal Agency Charged
ATLANTA - G.N.T, Inc., doing business as GNT Foods, a grocery store located in East Point, Ga., will pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
Corey Bussey, Justin Jones and Christopher Evans worked in the meat department at GNT Foods. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the three African American men endured the store owner's daily use of racial slurs. The owner slapped Bussey and also prominently displayed racially offensive posters of monkeys in the workplace to humiliate the black employees. The harassing behavior continued despite numerous complaints by all three employees. Bussey, Evans and Jones each filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC and were subsequently fired by GNT Foods in retaliation for their complaints of harassment and discrimination charges, according to the lawsuit.
Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from firing, demoting or harassing employees because of race or because they complained to their employer about discrimination on the job. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:17-CV-3545-MHC-LTW) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary damages to the three men, GNT Foods agrees to provide employment discrimination training to its employees and post its policies and an anti-discrimination notice. In addition, the two-year consent decree settling the suit subjects GNT Foods to reporting and monitoring requirements.
"We are pleased with the resolution of this matter, and with GNT Foods' agreement to train its employees regarding discrimination and retaliation," said EEOC Regional Attorney Antonette Sewell. "Employers have a duty to protect their workforce from racially offensive conduct and to take immediate corrective action when necessary. The EEOC continues to take racial harassment and retaliation complaints very seriously."
Darrell E. Graham, district director of the EEOC's Atlanta office, said, "Racial harassment and retaliation in the workplace will not be tolerated. The EEOC will continue to protect workforces in our communities."
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.