U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EEOC Says Black Employees Subjected to a Racially Hostile Work Environment
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – U-Haul violated federal law by subjecting African-American employees to a racially hostile work environment because of their race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed September 28, 2011.
The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-2844, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division), charged that Nathaniel Baldwin, who worked as a mechanic for U-Haul, and other African-American employees, were subjected to racially offensive comments by a white supervisor and other employees.
The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that Baldwin’s supervisor regularly referred to him and other African-American employees with the “N-word” and used other derogatory slurs. In addition, Baldwin’s co-worker, a parts room employee, subjected the African-American employees to the same offensive behavior by using racial slurs and refusing to let African-Americans enter the parts room.
The alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction prohibiting this discrimination in the future, and to order U-Haul to pay Nathaniel Baldwin and other African-American employees compensatory damages for emotional and psychological harm as well as punitive damages.
“It is appalling that racial harassment and the use of racial slurs are still found in today’s workplaces,” Katharine W. Kores, director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office said. “Employees should not have to endure a racially hostile work environment in order to earn a living. The EEOC will continue to forcefully fight against this illegal conduct.”
U-Haul is a national company headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. The company provides rental moving vans, trailers and related merchandise for use in moving household goods, as well as storage facilities.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.