Manufactured Home Companies Subjected Employee to Hostile Work Environment After Learning of Multi-Racial Family, Federal Agency Charges
DALLAS – Cavco Industries, Inc. and Palm Harbor Homes, Inc. violated federal law by subjecting a sales consultant to race-based harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a sales consultant at the Palm Harbor Homes location in Waco, Texas, experienced harassment and racial slurs after disclosing he had a multiracial family and after he refused to engage in conversations disparaging Black people. Afterward, the general manager referred to the employee’s family members using racial slurs and increased the use of racially disparaging remarks in the workplace.
Employees at the store, including the general manager and assistant manager, engaged in frequent, regular use of racial slurs directed at both Black and white individuals who have close relationships with Black people. The sales consultant was sometimes left to serve Black customers, who were referred to by harassers as “his people.” A family member was referred to as a “mudshark.” Management also took actions that impacted the sales consultant’s sales, which resulted in a reduction of his commissions. Ultimately, Cavco Industries and Palm Harbor Homes fired the sales consultant because of his association with his Black and biracial family.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race. The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 6:23-cv-00678, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In this case, the EEOC seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, including an order barring Cavco Industries, Inc. and Palm Harbor Homes, Inc. from engaging in discriminatory treatment in the future.
“No one should suffer at work because of the race of the people they love or choose to associate with,” said Alexa Lang, trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “It can violate civil rights law for a manager or coworker to use racial slurs to criticize white people for their association with Black family members.”
Dallas District Office regional attorney Robert A. Canino said, “In an increasingly multi-racial and multi-cultural world, employers who alienate or exclude employees based on racial prejudice not only limit the diversity of their workforce, but will also find themselves in violation of federal law.”
For more information on race discrimination, visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/racecolor-discrimination. For more information on harassment, visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/harassment.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.