U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Long-Term Care Nursing Facility Fired Employee in Retaliation for Making a Complaint of Racial Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – StoneRidge Health and Rehab Center, LLC, a long-term care facility located approximately four miles from Little Rock, Ark., violated federal law by terminating an employee in retaliation for making a complaint of racial discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The EEOC’s suit, Civil Action No. 4:10-cv-1414 JMM, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, asserts that StoneRidge fired a housekeeping supervisor because she had complained, among other things, that she found certain comments by her supervisor racist and that she believed a watermelon-eating contest in the workplace had racist overtones. Shortly after she complained, she was discharged for supposedly making “false, defamatory, and malicious statements” about a supervisor.
Retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency’s lawsuit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction against future discrimination, among other items.
“Fighting retaliation is a priority for the EEOC,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. “Employers cannot terminate an employee for complaining about conduct that the employee believes is racially motivated. To allow an employer to do so would have a chilling effect on all employees.”
StoneRidge is a long-term care nursing facility located in College Station, Ark., just outside of Little Rock and is a limited liability company registered in the State of Arkansas.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.