According to the Wall Street Journal, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) described the settlement as the largest individual payment for racial-discrimination claims it has obtained. Legal experts said the case may cause employers to re-examine policies around racial harassment and workplace discrimination, the WSJ reported.
In the lawsuit, filed in 2005 in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, the EEOC claimed Charles Daniels, an aviation electrician with Lockheed from 1999 to 2001, was subjected to racial harassment by co-workers on a daily basis and threats of retaliation – including lynching – after he complained to supervisors. The EEOC alleged the company refused to discipline the harassers.
However, Lockheed said the “characterization of the facts” is false. Company spokesman Joe Stout told the WSJ that several of the allegations were not reported to the company. When management learned of the matter it “conducted investigations and took the appropriate remedial actions based on the facts presented at that time,” he stated, according to the news report.
Stout said Lockheed decided to settle because it was in the best interests of the company and Daniels to put the matter behind them. He added that employees involved in the matter have left the company or are being terminated, and the company has barred individuals in the case from working at the company in the future.
Stout noted that Lockheed has clear policies against discrimination and it promotes diversity, and he pointed out there are no other discrimination suits relating to the Lockheed unit where Daniels worked.
The settlement agreement is here .