Food Retailer Subjected African American Worker to Racially Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charged
NEW ORLEANS – Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc., a food preparer and retailer in Scott and Carencro, Louisiana, has agreed to pay a former employee $67,500 to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The lawsuit was resolved through a consent decree, which U.S. District Judge Michael J. Juneau approved on January 14, 2022.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the general manager at Don’s Specialty Meats routinely referred to the employee as “Black boy,” “the Black boy” and “little Black guy,” and he regularly used the “n” word in the employee’s presence. When the worker’s supervisor repeatedly called the worker a “bitch ass [n——r]” in front of managers and other employees, Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc. dismissed the employee — but not the supervisor — for the rest of the day. The employee found the conditions so intolerable that he resigned, the EEOC said.
The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 6:21-cv-03421) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in 2021 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. Under the three-year consent decree settling the suit, Don’s Specialty Meats will not only pay the former employee $67,500 in back pay and damages, but also conduct training, revise policies, provide regular reports to the EEOC, and post a notice that affirms its obligations under Title VII and states that employees can report violations to the EEOC.
“This is a strong resolution which serves the public interest,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “The decree provides relief for the former employee and will help assure that no employees will be subject to harassment based on race.”
Peter Theis, trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, noted, “Harassment based on race and the use of racial slurs is intolerable, and an employer must act to assure that harassment of this kind is prevented and, if it happens, is vigorously addressed.”
For more information on race and color discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/racecolor-discrimination. For more information on harassment, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/harassment.
The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, which is part of its Houston District Office, which has jurisdiction over Louisiana and parts of Texas.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.