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Mineral Met Inc., a division of Chemalloy Company, will pay $440,000 and furnish other relief to settle a class race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on September 24.
According to the EEOC’s suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division (Case No. 1:08-cv-02199), a class of black employees was subjected to racial hostility and discriminatory behavior at Mineral Met’s Cleveland facility. For example, Quality Control Supervisor Langston Satterwhite, of Maple Heights, Ohio, had an excellent performance history, but a white supervisor unfairly disciplined him for trivial matters, such as having facial hair or using a cell phone, even though white co-workers were not reprimanded for doing the same things. Other black employees were also repeatedly cited for alleged policy violations while white employees were not disciplined for engaging in the same behavior, the EEOC said.
Satterwhite complained to upper managementabout the racial discrimination he and other black employees experienced, but according to the EEOC, these complaints only resulted in intensified racially discriminatory treatment and retaliation. In addition, the EEOC’s complaint alleged the company moved Satterwhite’s office from the second floor, where other managers worked, and placed him in the basement with his subordinates. The company was also alleged to have removed some of Satterwhite’s work duties and subjected him to unfair and heightened scrutiny.
Further, the EEOC charged, African-American employees were also subjected to other forms ofracial harassment, such as a white supervisor placing a hangman’s noose on a piece of machinery. As a result of the unchecked discrimination and retaliation, Satterwhite had no choice but to leave the company.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit provides that Mineral Met agrees to maintain and enforce written policies prohibiting race discrimination, harassment and retaliation; promote manager and supervisor accountability on those policies; provide training to all employees, supervisors and managers at its Cleveland facility on Title VII, with an emphasis on race discrimination; and post a notice informing employees of its commitment to compliance with the statute.
“I am very pleased that Mineral Met has agreed to a settlement that not only remedies the harmed individuals, but implements policies preventing reoccurrence of such egregious behavior,” said Philadelphia District regional attorney Debra Lawrence.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.