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 “gorilla.”


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.


"Racial harassment 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."


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