U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Bishopville Plant Subjected African-American Employee to Racial Abuse and Fired Him for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, a Bishopville, S.C.-based metal finishing company, subjected an employee to a racially hostile work environment and unlawfully fired him for complaining about the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.
Tieron L. Parks worked as a powder coater at the company's Bishopville plant. According to the EEOC's complaint, from around October 2011 until around May 21, 2012, Parks was repeatedly subjected to racial slurs by two white employees. The comments included repeated use of the "N-word." The EEOC alleges Parks complained to company management, but the harassment continued. Within hours of his final complaint on or around May 21, 2012, Parks was fired, the EEOC said, in retaliation for his complaints of racial harassment.
Race discrimination, including racial harassment, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also protects employees and applicants from retaliation for making complaints about discrimination. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division (EEOC v. Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-03815-MBS-PJG) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief, including back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Companies must take prompt action to stop the harassment in response to allegations of racial slurs being used in the workplace," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Firing the complaining employee because of his or her complaint is never the correct response, and is itself a violation of federal laws - and the EEOC will vigorously enforce them."
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