Caster Manufacturer Fired Employees Who Opposed Misconduct, Federal Agency Charges
PHILADELPHIA - Service Caster Corporation, one of the largest caster and wheel companies in North America, violated federal law when it discriminated against and harassed three workers based on their national origin and religion and then retaliated against them for complaining, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.
According to the suit, West Reading, Pa.-based Service Caster subjected two assemblers and one assembly line supervisor to a hostile work environment because of their national origin, Puerto Rican, and religion, Pentecostal. The plant manager routinely made derogatory remarks about their national origin. The EEOC says the plant manager also made disparaging comments about their Pentecostal faith, including calling it a "cult." The EEOC said the harassment continued even after the workers complained to the company owner.
Further, the EEOC said, Service Caster retaliated against the employees for their opposition to the harassment. The discrimination and retaliation included reduced hours, assignments and responsibilities, denial of superior assignments and overtime, and ultimately culminated in their terminations.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination and harassment based on national origin or religion. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Service Caster Corporation, Civil Action No. 5:19-cv-04525-JLS) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Managers should be role models, not harassers," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson. "Employers have a responsibility to maintain an environment free of national origin or religious harassment and retaliation."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence added, "This lawsuit should remind employers that they will be held accountable if they engage in discrimination or harassment based on national origin or religion, or if they punish workers who exercise their federal right to complain about such illegal misconduct."
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.