African American Pipefitter Foreman Fired Because Of His Race, Federal Agency Charged
RALEIGH, N.C. – Thompson Construction Group, Inc., a heavy industrial contractor based in Sumter, S.C., will pay $115,000 and provide other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that Thompson Construction Group violated federal law when it fired an African American employee because of his race. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee worked as a pipefitter foreman in Semora, N.C., when a white subordinate made abusive and racially derogatory comments to him and engaged in insubordinate behavior. Thompson Construction fired the Black pipefitter foreman following the incident. The EEOC said that Thompson Construction does not discharge Caucasian foremen whose subordinate employees engage in verbal disputes with them or for reasons similar to those it gave for terminating the Black pipefitter foreman. The EEOC asserted that Thompson Construction fired the African American pipefitter foreman because of his race.
This alleged behavior violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from engaging in unlawful employment practices on the basis of race. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Thompson Construction Group, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-00406) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief for the pipefitter foreman, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires that Thompson Construction Group revise and distribute equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies; provide annual Title VII training; and report regularly to the EEOC about employees discharged from its North Carolina worksites.
“Federal law requires employers to be responsible for preventing and remedying racial discrimination in the workplace,” said Kara Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “We appreciate Thompson Construction Group’s cooperation in reaching an early resolution of this case and its commitment to working toward establishing a discrimination-free workplace.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.