South Alabama Company Created a Hostile Work Environment For Females, Refused To Hire Blacks and Fired Employee Who Complained, Federal Agency Charged
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc., an HVAC company based in Summerdale, Ala., has agreed to pay $175,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charging race discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation, the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Climatemp fired a former employee in retaliation for his complaints about owner Randy Englebert’s harassment of female employees and refusal to hire qualified black applicants. The EEOC charged that Englebert frequently called female employees derogatory names based on their sex, referred to having hired them for their looks and to obtain sexual favors, and mocked their intelligence.
Englebert also routinely referred to African Americans by using racially derogatory terms and instructed employees to indicate the race of black applicants on job applications to ensure they were not hired. The company fired another employee because she had bi-racial grand¬children, the EEOC charged.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and race discrimination in employment, and retaliating against an employee who opposes discrimination or harassment based on race or sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (Equal Employment Opportunity Com-mission v. Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00425-CG-B) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC brought the lawsuit on behalf of the two terminated employees, a class of female employees and a class of black applicants who were denied employment.
In addition to the $175,000 in monetary relief the 13 claimants will share, the four-year consent decree resolving the case requires Climatemp to develop and communicate to all employees company policies designed to ensure a discrimination-free workplace, annually train its employees, and provide multiple avenues for employees to report discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
“Employees have the right to work in an environment where they are judged on their ability and not based upon irrelevant characteristics like sex, race or the race of family members,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson. “Federal law also prohibits an employer from refusing to hire qualified applicants based on race and punishing an employee who complains about it.”
Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, said, “Climatemp created a work environment where women were sexually harassed and bullied, African Americans did not get hired, and employees were subject to termination for complaining about discrimination or harassment. The EEOC remains committed to combating this type of harassment and discrimination through vigorous law enforcement efforts.”
Climatemp Cooling & Heating, Inc. is an Alabama corporation that provides HVAC services with multiple locations across south Alabama.
The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.