U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Multi-National Stainless Steel Company Rejected Black Employees for Promotion, Federal Agency Charged
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC violated federal law when it denied black employees at its Calvert, Ala., facility a promotion to several vacant team leader positions because of their race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. Outokumpu purchased the Calvert stainless steel processing plant from German-based international steel company ThyssenKrupp in 2012.
According to the EEOC's suit, Wallace Dubose, Steven Jones, Victor Oliver and Daniel Nickelson, and at least one other black male employee applied for team leader positions that became available in 2013. The men had been working in various line operator positions at the Calvert stainless steel processing plant since as early as 2008 and possessed relevant management and work experience. However, despite their qualifications, Outokumpu rejected each of the black employees for the position and instead promoted less-qualified and less experienced white applicants, the EEOC charged.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from using race as a factor in making employment decisions. The EEOC's lawsuit, filed on 08 June 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (EEOC v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, Case No. 2:15-cv-00405-WHA-CSC), seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"This lawsuit should remind employers that the EEOC will take action when a company makes personnel decisions based on the race of the applicants instead of on their experience and qualifications," said C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office.
Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, added, "Some employers continue to allow race to invade their workplace decisions. Employers, big and small, need to ensure their work forces are properly trained about non-discrimination in personnel decisions. Employers who violate Title VII may be held accountable for improperly considering race."
According to company information, Outokumpu is a global company headquartered in Finland and employs approximately 16,000 people in over 40 countries, including 900 employees at its facility in Calvert. The Calvert facility specializes in making stainless steel coils.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC's Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov .