Legal

1.2 Million Reasons to Fight Harassment

By Jon Hyman

Dec. 8, 2014

According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission press release, a Wyoming federal judge has approved a $1.2 million settlement with three well-servicing companies on behalf of a dozen employees who claimed that they suffered regular and repeated racially derogatory comments and jokes:

Employees regularly used terms like “wetback” and “beaner” to refer to Hispanic employees, “wagon burner” to refer to Native American employees, and the “N-word” to refer to black employees…. According to the EEOC’s amended complaint, minority employees on the rigs regularly heard racist terms … such as “n—-r-rigging” and telling employees to “n—-r a pipe down” were also common.

Said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez, “This type of outrageous discrimination sadly still exists. Employers in the oil and gas industry should heed this settlement and renew their efforts to ensure that employees are treated equally regardless of race or national origin.” EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill added, “The type of blatant racist conduct alleged in this case has no place in the workplace. We believe that our lawsuit and the significant relief obtained in this settlement will send the message, not only to the defendants, but to the entire industry that the EEOC will not this kind of misconduct – or retaliation for complaining about it.”

Over the past couple of weeks, our country has been hyper-focused on race. It’s pathetic that employees still have to suffer workplaces with any degree of racism. While I believe that not every mishandled situation is because of race, this EEOC settlement shows that we still have a ways to go with race relations, and employers that shirk or ignore their responsibilities in this regard do so at their peril.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at JHyman@Wickenslaw.com.

About Workforce.com

blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Compliance

Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

Legal

California’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare

Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...

32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime

workforce blog

Legal

A business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law

Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...

restaurants, tip laws, tipping