Black workers at construction company’s jobsite in upstate New York suffered racist slurs and noose, federal agency indicted
ALBANY, NY – CCC Group, Inc. will pay $ 420,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency said today.
According to the EEOC lawsuit, the San Antonio, Texas-based construction company violated federal law by fostering a work environment riddled with racist comments and discriminatory working conditions at its construction site in Ravena, NY in 2016. The EEOC alleged that white supervisors and employees regularly made unwelcome racist comments to black employees, including on a company radio station for all to hear.
The EEOC accused a white supervisor of attempting to trick an employee with a noose, and another white supervisor told an African-American employee that for Halloween, “you don’t even have to get dressed. I’ll dress in white and put a noose around your neck and we’ll walk down the street together. The EEOC further accused a white employee of bragging that his ancestors owned slaves and another white employee told a black employee that he was walking oddly because the slaves were walking with a bag over his shoulder. to pick up cotton.
Racial harassment is a form of racial discrimination and violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race. The EEOC filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (EEOC v. CCC Group, Inc., Civil Action No. 1: 20-cv-00610 (FJS / DJS)) after first attempting to reach a pre-dispute settlement through the agency’s conciliation process.
The three-year consent decree signed by Judge Frederick J. Scullin provides $ 225,000 in monetary damages for a former black employee who the EEOC said was the target of vicious racist abuse and threatened with a noose. The executive order also provides that the CCC group will distribute $ 195,000 among six other black employees who worked for the CCC group in 2016 and who the EEOC said were racially harassed by white supervisors and co-workers.
The decree requires the CCC Group to conduct company-wide training for employees and managers to educate participants about issues of harassment and discrimination in the construction industry. The CCC Group should also organize a “lessons learned” presentation for all managers of the CCC Group business units, which focuses on the EEOC complaint, decree and anti-harassment training. The decree also requires the CCC Group to appoint an EEO manager, responsible for ensuring that the company complies with the decree and federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Among other duties, the EEO manager should promptly investigate internal complaints of discrimination, promote employee anti-harassment trainings, and visit CCC group work sites to meet with employees to discuss EEO issues. The CCC Group must also provide periodic reports to the EEOC regarding any future allegations of racial harassment. Finally, the decree prohibits the CCC group from employing or contracting with two white supervisors who served as foremen for the CCC group at the Ravena jobsite and who the EEOC said harassed black employees.
“The allegations of racial harassment in this case were particularly vicious,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the New York district office of the EEOC. “We are delighted that the CCC Group has agreed to take steps to make its workplaces safer and more respectful, including organizing training and appointing a senior executive who will ensure that the CCC Group complies with the decree and to federal law. “
“Employers must take immediate and effective action to prevent and eradicate the type of racial harassment that has been alleged in this case,” said Judy Keenan, director of the New York district office. “This decree ensures that the CCC Group will compensate skilled and experienced construction workers who have been the victims of harassment in Ravena, and will also make important internal changes to protect its current and future workforce.”
The EEOC district office in New York is responsible for handling discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York State, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. The agency’s local Buffalo office conducted the investigation that resulted in this lawsuit.
The EEOC advances opportunities in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.