Supervisor was Subjected to Harassment Based on His Race and Then Discharged When He Complained About It, Federal Agency Charged
Rock Spring, Ga. - Nissin Brake Georgia, Inc., a manufacturer of brakes and other automobile parts located in Rock Spring, Georgia, unlawfully discriminated against Harlan Breaux, one of its shift supervisors, when it subjected him to harassment based on his race and then discharged him in retaliation for complaining about the racial harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Nissin Brake violated federal law by subjecting Mr. Breaux to a racially-hostile work environment when it allowed staff to refer to him using the N-word, allowed racist graffiti in the restroom, and for not taking corrective actions to prevent it from continuing. When Mr. Breaux reported the harassment, and attempted to get management to take action, he was discharged.
Subjecting an employee to harassment based on his race violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and employers who take punitive action against employees who complain of discrimination based on race are liable for retaliation under Title VII. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Nissin Brake Georgia, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:18-CV-216-HLM) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking reinstatement, back pay, front pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for Mr. Breaux, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.
"An employer cannot discharge an employee, especially a supervisor, for reporting racial harassment in the workplace," said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "The employee here was subjected to racial harassment and did what Title VII asks of employers and reported it. Rather than laud its supervisor for following the law, the company discharged him to punish him."
Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of the Atlanta office, said, "The EEOC is committed to stopping workplace harassment in all of its forms in Georgia and across the country. No one should be fired for reporting race discrimination or harassment."
The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina.
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.