$200,000 Award in Racial Harassment Lawsuit by San Antonio Manufacturer

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A federal jury awarded $200,000 in punitive damages to three former employees of AA Foundries in a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC's lawsuit charged AA Foundries, Inc., a local San Antonio manufacturer of ferrous castings and producer of foundry mold machines, with racially harassing its African-American employees in violation of federal law. One African-American employee testified at trial that he filed an EEOC complaint because he wanted his children to learn not to be prejudiced against others nor for others to be prejudiced against them in the workplace.

AA Foundries Superintendant, the top plant official, not only used the "N" word himself, but admitted that it did not bother him that derogatory racial slurs were commonly heard in the workplace. The superintendant also called adult African-American male employees "mother-f---g boys," posted racially-tinged written material in the break room, and routinely slandered them referring to them as "you people" and accusing African-Americans of always stealing and wanting welfare. After several employees filed racial harassment charges with the EEOC, a noose was displayed at the AA Foundries workplace. In response to employee complaints about this noose, the superintendant described such reports as "BS" and stated the noose "was no big deal" and that "you people are too sensitive." 

This type of conduct constitutes a hostile work environment, a form of race-based discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action Number 5:11-cv-792, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. 

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