BROOKLYN, N.Y. (Legal
Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has
announced a lawsuit against New York excavation and construction company
Laquila for allegations of racial harassment.
According to EEOC, Laquila
subjected Walter Franks and other black employees to a race-based hostile work
environment since 2013. A Laquila supervisor would allegedly insult the black
employees through racial slurs that included “n----r,” “monkey,” “Godzilla” and
EEOC alleges the
harassment was open and not subtle, and that Franks and other employees
complained to management. Yet Laquila allegedly did nothing to stop
it. Instead, it purportedly fired Franks a few days after he complained to
Laquila’s project superintendent.
isn't just deplorable, it's illegal," said EEOC regional attorney Jeffrey
Burstein. "Federal law demands that when a company learns that its
supervisor has been directing racial slurs toward its employees, such harassment
must be addressed and remedied immediately. This was not done by Laquila, and
so EEOC had to take action to right these wrongs."
EEOC seeks back pay and
compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Walter Franks' efforts to stop the racial slurs should have resulted in corrective action by
Laquila, not being fired,” said EEOC New York District acting director Judy
Keenan. “EEOC will vigorously fight racial harassment and retaliation against
those brave enough to speak out against it."