Three employers in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina have settled separate lawsuits with the EEOC for an amount totaling $454,000. Under the suits brought by the EEOC, all three companies were accused of racial bias.
In a class action case against Pemco Aeroplex, the Birmingham, Alabama aerospace and defense company, the EEOC alleged that nooses, swastikas and other threatening symbols created a hostile work environment for African American workers. The company provides aircraft maintenance and modification services for government and the military.
The other two cases settled involved Ryan’s Restaurant Group, Inc. and Renal Care Group, Inc.
In the larges of the three settlements, Pemco Aeroplex will pay $390,000 in addition to changing its policies on workplace discrimination. According to the EEOC, the suit was based on 36 separate discrimination charges filed since 1998. After an investigation, the EEOC charged that since 1995 Pemco had engaged in a patter of race discrimination by subjecting them to racial slurs, epithets and racially offensive graffiti. The graffiti included Ku Klux Klan symbols.
In addition to the payment, the settlement requires Pemco to change its policies concerning racial harassment and retaliation. This includes training all employees in preventing racial harassment annually. The company will also institute new complaint procedures, and introduce preventative measures. Pemco will also provide team building and diversity training, and conduct surveys to determine the effectiveness of these measures.
The EEOC’s suit against Pemco was dismissed, but reinstated on appeal. Some Pemco employees had filed a separate suit against Pemco, which was settled in 2002. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to discriminate against workers based on race, color, religion, sex, or country of origin.
“Despite what some may think, overt racial harassment of African Americans still occurs in workplaces more than 40 years after passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “In addition to the severe types of race discrimination witnessed in these cases, the EEOC also is seeing more subtle forms of bias against people of color – which is why we recently launched the E.RACE Initiative.”
In a second case, Ryan’s Restaurant Group of Jasper, Alabama agreed to pay $41,000 to a former employee who is black. The suit charges that the employer created and condoned a racially hostile work environment at its restaurant. This included a display of hangman’s nooses by the restaurant manager.
When the Ryan’s employee complained about the nooses, he was fired in retaliation. Under Title VII, employers are not allowed to take any retaliatory action against employees who lodge a complaint with the EEOC. This includes changing the employee’s working conditions or pay, disciplining them or firing them.
Ryan’s Restaurant Group has its headquarters in Greer, South Carolina. The company operates more than 340 Ryan’s and Fire Mountain restaurants in 23 states in the South and Midwest. The company employs over 23,000 people and serves 110 million customers each year. As part of this settlement, Ryan’s will institute anti-discrimination training.
The third suit settled was with Renal Care Group, Inc. of Jackson, Mississippi. The EEOC alleges that Renal Care discriminated against an African American manager and fired her when she complained about the discrimination. Under the settlement, the company will pay the employee $21,000.
“Each of these lawsuits addressed the mistreatment of blacks in the workplace based solely on their race,” said EEOC Attorney C. Emanuel Smith, of the Birmingham office. “The Commission will continue to identify issues, criteria and barriers that contribute to race and color discrimination.”
All of the companies in this article deny any wrongdoing.
When you hear the term discrimination you most likely think of sexual or racial discrimination. These are probably two of the most publicized and talked about forms of discrimination. Unfortunately these are just two of a long list of ways that you can be discriminated against, especially in the workplace. Alabama (AL) job discrimination law in the workplace addresses several such issues and defines what actions may be considered discriminatory and could be punishable by law.
In Alabama, job discrimination law in the workplace holds employers, labor unions and employment agencies equally accountable for any employment practices that may be construed as unlawful because they were biased. Employers may not hire or refuse to hire anyone based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; they cannot be fire for anyone for any of these reasons either. All compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment must be based on merit and not with any consideration to any of the above-mentioned traits, characteristics, religious practices or heritage. To limit, select, or catalogue his employees or applicants for employment in any way, which would deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect their status as an employee would be considered unlawful. This includes such things as rate of pay, overtime and fringe benefits.
If an employment agency fails or refuses to refer for employment or otherwise discriminates against an individual based on his color, religion, sex, national origin, or race that would be considered as acting against Alabama AL job discrimination in the workplace and such agency would be subject to punishment. Labor Unions also can not discriminate when it comes to the acceptance or expulsion of an individual into their organization, nor should they encourage an employer to discriminate against any individual.
Employers are also compelled by law to have equal payment standards for men and women who perform essentially the same work.
While researching the Alabama sexual discrimination law in the workplace, I found that they do not have these types of laws separate from the federal laws. This means several things for Alabama employers and workers.
First of all, employers must follow the Equal Pay Act which states that men and women who have equal positions in terms of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions cannot be discriminated against in terms of pay and benefits. Secondly, employers cannot discriminate in the form of sexual harassment which includes workplace -conditions that can be deemed hostile for people of either gender. Pregnancy-based discrimination also falls under this federal law: pregnancy and its related conditions must be treated like any illness or other condition. All in all, it’s illegal for employers in Alabama to discriminate against anyone in any aspect of employment.
The Alabama department of labor clearly states that federal law covers issues with sexual discrimination in the workplace and that all complaints and concerns are handled through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Birmingham – all complaints except those falling under the Equal Pay Act must first go through the EEOC before being filed in court. You can file the complaint yourself or you can have someone file on your behalf to protect your identity.
If your company has more than 15 employees, you can file a claim by providing your contact information and your employer’s contact information and its number of employees in addition to your complaint and the date of the alleged act. Remember that all claims must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.
If your complaint falls under the Equal Pay Act, you can file directly with the courts; you’ll want to consult a lawyer to help you sort through your options. Either way, though, it’s important to act quickly so that you don’t miss your timeframe for filing a complaint.
Both employees and employers are responsible for keeping the workplace a safe place to be.
Employers can protect themselves by keeping notes of all decisions reasons for those decisions concerning employees and employees need to know their rights. It is also recommended to continually update your Alabama Complete Labor Labor Law poster with the most recent labor law changes regarding sexual discrimination.
A particular problem faced by victims of discrimination in Alabama is that Alabama has no state agency with which to file complaints for racial and other forms of discrimination.
Alabama has passed no general discrimination laws – only age discrimination in businesses of more than 20 employees is prohibited by law. Nevertheless, federal anti-discrimination laws apply to citizens of all states.
The particular challenge in Alabama is that federal courts follow a general principle that all state administrative actions must be exhausted before filing an anti-discrimination lawsuit. Moreover, state human rights agencies often provided advocacy regarding the process of filing a racial or other form of discrimination complaints.
Given the unique situation in Alabama, I wanted to share what the process for pursing rights against racial and other forms of discrimination (other than age) is if the discrimination occurs in Alabama.
Since Alabama has not passed laws to extend the time for the charges, you need to file a sworn charge of discrimination with your local (EEOC) office within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation To protect legal rights, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You do not want to lose a claim because you could not get a charge filed within 180 days.
It is always best to contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) promptly when discrimination is suspected. All laws enforced by EEOC, except the Equal Pay Act, require filing a charge with EEOC before a private lawsuit may be filed in court. There are strict time limits within which charges must be filed. Not filing the charge within the deadline may result in losing your right to bring action in Federal Courts.
Just because the EEOC helps you file a charge of discrimination does not mean it meets all legal requirements. Since in Alabama your complaints go directly into the federal system, there may be in even more reason to consult an attorney as soon as you feel you are being discriminated against.
Not only is it wrong to discriminate against people in the workplace, it’s also against the law. Alabama protects its workers from any type of discrimination or harassment. Alabama also requires that employers hang posters detailing the employment laws concerning discrimination.
Workers in Alabama are protected if they work for an employer holding a federal contract or subcontract, a government agency, educational institute, or a private business. People who work for an employer who receives federal money for programs or activities aren’t allowed to be discriminated against either. Basically, any worker in Alabama is protected from being discriminated against. In Alabama, it is the law to give everyone an equal opportunity.
Workers in Alabama can’t be discriminated against because of race, sex, religion, age, color, national origin, or disability. A disabled person may not be denied a job in which he/she can reasonable be accommodated to perform the job. Workers can’t be discriminated against because of being a member or not being a member of a union. Also, employers can’t make hiring someone contingent on whether or not that person will join a union. Finally, someone who must leave his/her job to perform military service can’t lose their job because of such an absence.
Discrimination includes a person not being hired or being fired for one of the reasons above. It also includes workers not being paid just wages and/or not receiving promotions because of one of the reasons mentioned above. A person can’t be intentionally treated badly or be made to feel inferior by anyone.
It is a federal and state law that posters be hung in the workplace detailing an employee’s right to fair treatment in the workplace. This poster must cover all the necessary information involving discrimination and it must be hung in a place where all employees will be able to see it. The Alabama Complete Labor Law poster details all of the most current federal and state labor laws on one convenient laminated poster for employees to review.