EEOC Sues Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc. for Race Harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Food Preparer and Retailer Subjected African American Worker to Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Says

NEW ORLEANS – Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc, a food preparer and retailer in Scott and Carencro, La., violated federal law when it subjected an African American employee to a hostile work environment because of his race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed September 24, 2021.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the general manager at Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc. 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. Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc. also identified the employee as “Black boy” on the schedule, while identifying non-African American employees by name. When the worker’s supervisor repeatedly called the worker a “bitch ass [n——r]” in 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 next day, the general manager told the employee that he was a “bitch ass [n——r].” He then “disciplined” the supervisor by temporarily preventing her from wearing her supervisor’s shirt. The employee found the conditions so intolerable that he resigned.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race-related harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Civil Action No. 6:21-cv-03421) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“The ‘n’ word is among the most offensive and inflammatory racial slurs in English, and its very use communicates racial bigotry,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office.

Andrew Kingsley, senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, noted, “Employers must do all that they can to prevent the use of racial slurs, and if they are used, they must act immediately to remedy the harm caused by their use.”

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.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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