$900,000 Settlement in EEOC Discrimination Suit Against M. Slavin and Sons, Training Ordered

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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

M. Slavin & Sons, Ltd., doing business as M. Slavin & Sons Fish, a retail and wholesale fish market, will pay $900,000 and furnish other relief to settle an employment discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC had charged that the company created a hostile work environment for over 30 black and African male loaders and drivers, including physical and verbal sexual harassment, offensive comments based on race and national origin, and retaliation against those who took part in the case.

The EEOC’s suit, CV 09-5330, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, charged that M. Slavin’s owners and managers harassed the employees from 1984 onward by physically groping them, making explicit sexual comments and using offensive racial terms such as “n----r” and “African b-----d.” Many of the men worked for M. Slavin for 10 to 20 years and endured this treatment because they desperately needed the work. The suit originated from a discrimination charge by Kevin Pierson, a truck loader for Slavin, who reported such abuse. The EEOC’s investigation subsequently disclosed that the misconduct was widespread and involved many victims.

The business recently moved its production to its Hunts Point, Bronx location, but the harassment occurred at the employer’s Brooklyn location.

The lawsuit was resolved by a consent decree which will be executed by Judge Jack B. Weinstein. In addition to the monetary relief, M. Slavin must revamp how it addresses discriminatory harassment and retaliation and submit to 5years of monitoring by the EEOC. Under the decree M. Slavin is ordered to:

  • retain an independent equal employment opportunity coordinator to receive and investigate complaints;
  • conduct targeted one-on-one training for owners and managers who were the worst harassers;
  • institute annual training for all owners, managers and employees on anti-discrimination;
  • post an announcement of the resolution of the case at the job site; and
  • report to the EEOC on any new discrimination complaints.
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