National Origin Discrimination and the impact on business

by on January 5, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Lumber firm nailed in national origin discrimination lawsuit

In a lawsuit initiated before Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq, eight Iraqi employees of a lumber company claimed they were harassed daily by their supervisor.

The Iraqis complained the supervisor made frequent racial slurs and derogatory comments at the work site. Witnesses said the supervisor treated the Iraqis with hostility because of their ethnic background.

The employer settled a national origin discrimination lawsuit, agreeing to pay $80,000 to the eight employees and institute anti-harassment policies. Remember, all it takes is one loose-lipped bigot working off-site to cost the home office a court judgment, a fine or a hefty settlement.

Interestingly, when the supervisor was fired (in an unrelated incident), his position was filled by an Iraqi.

Cite: EEOC v. Norvell & Wallace.

National origin discrimination case settled

Pakistani Muslim employees at a steel manufacturer were ridiculed by fellow employees during their daily prayers and given the least-desired assignments by their supervisors.

Unfortunately, management ignored their complaints, so they took their case to the EEOC, which filed a lawsuit against the employer.

Under the terms of the settlement, the employer will pay $1.1 million to four employees, provide sensitivity training to all personnel and initiate policy changes aimed at guaranteeing an employee’s right to make requests for religious accommodations.

Experts say national discrimination origin lawsuits are rising faster than any other category. HR can play a big role in promoting tolerance – which, as this case shows, is good for business.

Cite: EEOC v. The Herric Corp.

Polish worker wins $50,000 settlement for national origin complaint

These days, say “national origin complaint” and many managers think Middle Eastern or African. Fact is, harassing or discriminating against employees based on any nationality exposes employers to legal liability.

A Polish immigrant won a national origin discrimination lawsuit against his employer after he was the subject of daily taunts by co-workers.

The lawsuit settled, with the employer agreeing to pay $50,000

Cite: EEOC v. Regal-Beloit Corp.

Iraqi worker wins $90K bias settlement

An Iraqi-American worker at a giant construction firm helping to build Iraq’s infrastructure claimed he was subjected to national origin discrimination and harassment at its New Jersey facility.

He alleged he was cursed at by co-workers daily and that his complaints were ignored by his boss and by HR as well.

The man filed a discrimination lawsuit and received $90,000 when the employer agreed to settle.

Cite: Kizy v. Bechtel

Harassment and Ethnic Origin bias cost $600,000

Two managers committed a double whammy that cost a White Plains, NY-based firm $600,000, the EEOC said.

The company settled a sexual harassment and national origin discrimination lawsuit accusing the two managers of mistreating a group of Hispanic women.

The offenders, who were described as high-level managers at corporate headquarters, made unwelcome sexual advances and taunted the women about being Hispanic, the EEOC said.

Cite: EEOC v. Nine West.

Draw the line on conduct

Two car dealerships have agreed to pay over a half a million dollars to settle a national-origin lawsuit filed by seven Afghani-Americans.

Top managers at the dealerships called the seven “all the racial slurs you can imagine, on a regular basis,” according to an EEOC attorney.

When the top brass heard what was happening on the showroom floor, they were flabbergasted. But it was too late. The lawsuit was in full swing and the dealers settled for $550,000.

This case is a reminder that HR and company leadership must know what’s happening on the sales floor and the factory floor – not just the top floor.

Cite: EEOC v. Barber Dodge and Fairfield Toyota.

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