N.J. construction company to pay $178K

Nick Rees Jun. 8, 2012, 6:44am


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced on Thursday that a Burlington County construction firm must pay $178,767 in back pay to a former employee following alleged race-based discrimination and retaliatory discharge.

CBM Construction Services of Mount Laurel is required to pay $118,767 in back pay and pre-judgment interest to former employee Carl Carpenter, as well as $60,000 in damages for emotional stress. CBM will pay an additional $10,000 to the state in statutory penalties.

Carpenter started working for CBM as a carpenter in December 2007 before being dismissed in August 2008. Carpenter, while employed by CBM, was allegedly called a specific racial slur by his supervisor on several occasions. The same supervisor allegedly told Carpenter that he should remove the brown color from his face and urged other employees to hide their valuables when Carpenter approached.

A meeting was arranged in July 2008 after Carpenter took his complaints to a CBM executive. At the meeting, the supervisor allegedly apologized to Carpenter. CBM, however, allegedly took no disciplinary action against the supervisor and terminated Carpenter within one month.

According to CBM, Carpenter was discharged for grouting a wall incorrectly.

A May 18, 2008, performance evaluation listed Carpenter's work as "above average," and no negative performance reviews were filed against Carpenter before his discharge.

The final decision in the case was issued by Division on Civil Rights Director Craig Sashihara, who adopted the initial decision of an administrative law judge who presided at a hearing on the matter in November. CBM failed to appear at the hearing.

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