HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Feb. 22 against Downhole Technology, a manufacturer of equipment for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), for allegations of retaliating against an employee who reported being harassed by white coworkers because of his race.

 

Kenneth Echols, an employee of Downhole Technology who is black, reported to management that coworkers harassed him by using a white hood reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate, ridicule and insult him. According to the EEOC, the company failed to adequately respond to the complaint and instead reprimanded and later fired Echols for speaking out.

 

"Employers cannot and must not discriminate on the basis of an employee's race," said Rayford Irvin, director for the EEOC's Houston District Office, which has jurisdiction over parts of Texas and all of Louisiana. "Doing so denies employment equality and violates federal law."

 

The EEOC seeks punitive and compensatory damages for Echols, as well as injunctive relief against the company to prevent future discrimination and retaliation.

 

“Employers who disregard their employees' rights to be free from discrimination will be held accountable by the EEOC,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the Houston District Office.

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