$450,000 Settlement for National Origin Discrimination By Transportation Company, Training Ordered

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Question:  Would national origin discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.
Grand Junction, Colo.-based Mesa Systems, Inc., a moving and storage company, has agreed to pay $450,000 and furnish other relief required by a court-ordered consent decree to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  This is the largest national origin employment discrimination settlement ever achieved by the EEOC in Utah.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Hispanic workers employed at Mesa Systems' Salt Lake City warehouse were subjected to discrimination based on national origin.  The immigrant employees were subjected to a hostile work environment in many ways, including racist name calling and slurs, such as "(expletive deleted) Mexicans," "(expletive deleted) you, mojado" [wetback] by the warehouse managers. 

The EEOC also alleged that employees of various national origins were subjected to a restrictive language policy that had a disparate impact against Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders.  The EEOC further claimed that a number of employees suffered retaliation, including terminations and reductions in hours, after two employee petitions and other complaints were submitted to management about the national origin discrimination.  Mesa denied it violated the law.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Mesa Systems, Inc., 11-cv-01201-RJS-BCW, filed in U.S District Court for the District of Utah, after first attempting to resolve the case informally through its conciliation process.  In addition to the historic monetary settlement of $450,000, Mesa Systems has agreed to extensive injunctive relief, including training; revision of policies; the rescission of the restrictive language policy; apologies to the victims of discrimination; anti-discrimination notice posting; reporting to the EEOC; and programs to stop any future violations of Title VII. 

According to its website, Mesa Systems delivers premium, customized mobility solutions to a diverse corporate, commercial and residential customer base through four transportation subsidiaries operating in six states.
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