U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Hispanic Employee Forced to Quit Asheboro Sewing Contractor Due to Repeated Racist Insults, Federal Agency Charges
ASHEBORO, N.C. – An Asheboro , N.C.-based, family-owned sewing contractor violated federal law by subjecting a Hispanic employee to a hostile work environment because of his national origin, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, from around July 2006 through June 2008, Jason Ramirez was subjected to harassment based on his Hispanic national origin by B.J. Con-Sew, Inc. Ramirez was employed by B.J. Con-Sew in the company’s cutting department. The EEOC charged that Ramirez was harassed by a coworker and a supervisor, who were both white. According to the EEOC, the harassment included almost daily derogatory epithets such as “wetback,” “stupid motherf---ing wetback,” “crazy Mexican” and “dumb, stupid Mexican.” Ramirez, who was born to a white mother and Mexican father, was also frequently called a “half-breed” by one of his co-workers. Ramirez’s coworker and supervisor also made general derogatory comments about Hispanics such as “ Mexicans screw everything in the U.S. up,” and insulted Hispanic food by referring to it as “dog food.” Even though Ramirez complained to multiple levels of management, B.J. Con-Sew took no actions that stopped the harassment, the complaint alleges. In order to escape the harassment, Ramirez had to resign his position.
National origin harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v.B.J. Con/Sew Corp. d/b/a B.J. Con-Sew, Inc., Civ. Action No. 1:11-CV-00450 )in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay for Ramirez along with compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.
“No employee should have to endure such an offensive work environment in order to earn a paycheck,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Workplaces in North Carolina are becoming more and more ethnically diverse, and employers must be aware that harassment and other discrimination is against the law and will not be tolerated by the EEOC.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov .