U.S. / Titan Concrete to Pay $135,000 to Settle National Origin, Age and Retaliation Lawsuit

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Houston-based U.S. Concrete will pay $135,000 to settle a national origin,  age and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC) against its Memphis  subsidiary, Titan Concrete.

The EEOC charged in its suit against Titan Concrete  (Civil Action No. 2:09-cv-02208-JPM-cgc, filed in U.S. District Court for the  Western District of Tennessee) that company officials harassed and  discriminated against a Thai-American employee because of his East Asian  national origin and age. David Piyavunno,  a sales technician, was called “J-p” (although he is of Thai ancestry, not  Japanese), subjected to insensitive ageist comments, and then removed from the  sales department and demoted to a driver job because of his age and national  origin.

After Piyavunno complained about  the discrimination, he was further harassed, including being assigned to defective  trucks, and repeatedly threatened with firing.  Further, after Titan moved Piyavunno out of sales, it hired two  unqualified white men into that department, without an application process that  would have given Piyavunno the chance to apply for the positions. Ultimately Piyavunno resigned after the work  environment at Titan became too hostile to endure.

All this alleged conduct violated  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as the Age Discrimination in  Employment Act (ADEA).

Faye A.  Williams, EEOC regional attorney in Memphis, said, “Titan Concrete officials  subjected Mr. Piyavunno to humiliating and demeaning unlawful behavior based on  a combin­ation of discriminatory attitudes.  Part of the EEOC’s work is to challenge complicated combin­ations of  illegal discriminatory behaviors like this that harm employees, and to assure  that fair remedies are achieved. We believe we have accomplished that in  the settlement of this case.”

Other than the award of monetary  damages, the four-year consent decree that resolved the lawsuit also includes  injunctive relief that enjoins Titan Concrete from further discriminating based  on age, national origin, and retaliation; requires employment discrimination  trainings for senior managers involved in hiring and promotion; and mandates  settlement compliance reporting to the EEOC.

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