Retaliation Settlement Sets Back Employer $45K

It’s going to cost California-based Desco Industries Inc. $45,000 to put behind it a lawsuit alleging it retaliated against a black employee who complained he was denied a fair shot at an open job.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the suit last year, announced the settlement today.

As I reported last summer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that the around February 2015, the employee discussed his interest in a forklift position at the company’s North Carolina plant with Desco’s warehouse foreman.  Based on their discussion, the employee expected he was in line for the next open forklift position.  When he later saw a non-black employee operating a forklift, he believed Desco had passed him over for the position because of his race.

The employee complained to the staffing agency recruiter who notified Desco of his race discrimination complaint. Within days of learning about his complaint, Desco fired him in retaliation for complaining about discrimination.

As is standard with these settlements, Desco also must develop and implement an anti-retaliation policy and conduct annual training for supervisors and managers on Title VII’s prohibition against retaliation. Desco Industries must also post an employee notice about the lawsuit and provide periodic reports to the EEOC.

“Federal law protects those who come forward to report suspected employment discrimin­a­tion,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “The EEOC stands ready to enforce those protections.”

Here’s an EEOC refresher on Title VII’s prohibition of retaliation.



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