Employer Settles with EEOC over Racially Hostile Workplace

September 24, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - 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).

According to an EEOC press release, the lawsuit claimed a class of black employees was subjected to racial hostility and discriminatory behavior at Mineral Met’s Cleveland facility.   The agency charged black employees were subjected to disparate treatment and harassment, including a noose display.

Quality Control Supervisor Langston Satterwhite 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 management about the racial discrimination he and other black employees experienced, but his complaints only resulted in intensified racially discriminatory treatment and retaliation. In addition, the company moved Satterwhite’s office from the second floor, where other managers worked, and placed him in the basement with his subordinates, the EEOC’s complaint alleged.  The company was also alleged to have removed some of Satterwhite’s work duties and subjected him to unfair and heightened scrutiny.  

As a result of the unchecked discrimination and retaliation, Satterwhite felt he had no choice but to leave the company.  

The agency also said African-American employees were subjected to other forms of racial harassment, such as a white supervisor placing a hangman’s noose on a piece of machinery.