Two Black Organizers Fired for Not Meeting Recruitment Goal While White Organizer Remained on the Job, Federal Agency Charged
HOUSTON - A Texas union engaged in organizing school employees violated federal law when it fired two African-American organizers because of their race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, on May 9, 2014, Local 100 of United Labor Unions hired Maurice Roberts and Rosalind Holt to recruit public school employees for the union. A white male organizer was also hired at the same time. On May 27 of that year, Roberts and Holt were discharged, allegedly for failure to meet the minimum goal of recruiting five new union members within the first two weeks of hire, the EEOC's complaint charges. However, the white organizer, who was hired around the same time they were, failed to recruit any new members, but was not terminated. The EEOC asserts that the reasons given by the union to discharge Roberts and Holt, but not the white organizer, were a pretext for race discrimination.
Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No.17-01628) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In its lawsuit, the EEOC seeks lost wages, compensatory damages and punitive damages to address the harm suffered by Roberts and Holt. The agency also seeks an injunction to ensure that Local 100 develops effective policies to protect employees against race discrimination.
"This action sends the message that the EEOC will continue to prosecute employers, including unions, who subject their employees to adverse treatment because of their race," said Rayford O. Irvin, director of the EEOC's Houston District Office. "Union employers must make concerted efforts to prevent race discrimination in their labor organizations."
Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's Houston and New Orleans offices, said, "No one should be subjected to race discrimination. The EEOC will aggressively seek redress for anyone fired because of his or her race."
Local 100, United Labor Unions is a labor organization which recruits members from public and private school employees in Houston and other cities in the United States.
The EEOC's Houston District Office has jurisdiction over parts of Texas and all of Louisiana.
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.