U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Sanford Manufacturer Terminated Employee After He Complained of Race Discrimination, Federal Agency Charged
RALEIGH, N.C. - Desco Industries, Inc., a California-based manufacturer with a facility in Sanford, North Carolina violated federal law when it terminated an employee for complaining about race discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a workplace discrimination lawsuit it filed today.
According to EEOC's complaint, Daniel Worthy worked for Desco in 2015 through a third party staffing agency. Around February 2015, Worthy discussed his interest in a forklift position with Desco's warehouse foreman. Based on their discussion, Worthy expected he was in line for the next open forklift position. When Worthy, who is black, later saw a non-black employee operating a forklift, he believed Desco had passed him over for the position because of his race. Worthy complained to the staffing agency recruiter who notified Desco of Worthy's race discrimination complaint. Within days of learning about Worthy's complaint, Desco fired Worthy in retaliation for complaining about discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee for opposing what the employee believes to be race discrimination. Firing an employee for raising such concerns is a violation of the law. EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Desco Industries, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:16-CV-00858) after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
"Employees have the right to express their concerns about possible race discrimination, without fear of losing their jobs," said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the Charlotte District Office. "Employers cannot simply fire an employee because he or she has raised such concerns."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.