$125,000 Settlement in National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit Against Real Estate Company, Training Ordered

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Question:  Would discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the $125,000  settlement of a national origin harassment lawsuit it had filed against Simon  Property Group, Inc., which identifies itself as the largest real estate  company in the United States.  The EEOC had charged that Latino  janitors working for the company were subjected to daily verbal attacks because  of their national origin. Simon Property  Group owns and/or manages various shopping malls throughout the country,  including the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the site where the EEOC said the abuse  occurred.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a housekeeping shift leader, who was white, had  harassed a class of Latino janitors on a daily basis beginning in 2005,  subjecting them to verbal abuse, including slurs. Over a dozen Latino janitors submitted a  written petition that same year complaining about the shift leader, but they  perceived that nothing was done to stop the harassment. The EEOC alleged that the harassment  continued for another year, until the supervisor was finally terminated for  other reasons.

The EEOC originally filed suit  against the company in U.S. District  Court for the District of Nevada (EEOC v. Simon Property Group, Inc., Case  No. 2:09-cv-01178), alleging that the conduct violated Title VII of the Civil  Rights Act of 1964. The parties  entered into a two-year consent decree providing monetary relief for at least five  harassment victims along with injunctive relief designed to prevent and  appropriately deal with future instances of harassment. The consent decree also requires that Simon  Property retain a consultant to monitor and track complaints in Nevada; provide  anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for staff; and report  compliance efforts to the EEOC.

“We commend Simon Property for  reinforcing measures to prevent future instances of harassment and  discrimination,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los  Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction over southern Nevada.  “National origin discrimination issues are on the rise and we are  committed to vigorously enforcing federal laws to ensure workplaces free of  harassment and discrimination.”

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