EEOC Sues Paramount Janitorial Services, Inc. For Retaliation

Janitorial Service Unlawfully Fired Female  Janitor for Complaining About Racist Slurs, Federal Agency Charges

PETERSBURG, VA. - Paramount Janitorial Services Inc., a  Petersburg, Virginia based janitorial service unlawfully fired Cynthia Williams  ("Williams") for complaining that her supervisor had made racist com­ments, the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in an employment  discrimination lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's complaint, around April 22, 2011, Williams  complained to the owner of Paramount Janitorial that her supervisor, who is  white, subjected Williams, who is African-American, to racist epithets and  threats, including calling Williams the "N-word" and threatening to hit her  with his "N----r stick."  The EEOC's  complaint further alleges that approximately two days later, around April 24,  2011, Williams' supervisor discharged her in retaliation for her race-related  complaint.

Retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The  EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond  Division (EEOC v. Paramount Janitorial  Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:12-cv-897) after first attempting to  reach a voluntary settlement.  The EEOC seeks  back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive  relief.

"Employees should  be confident that they can make their employers aware of violations of federal  anti-discrimination laws without fear of reprisal," said Lynette A. Barnes,  regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office whose jurisdiction  includes Virginia.  "The anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII  are indispensable to the attainment of a workplace free of discrimination."

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination.  Further information  about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/.