NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Aug. 14 against A & F Fire Protection Co. Inc. for allegations of creating and tolerating a hostile work environment in which black and Hispanic employees were subjected to racial insults.

"The use of racial slurs in the workplace is unacceptable," said EEOC New York District Office regional attorney Jeffrey Burstein. "The abuse was so pervasive in this case that its tolerance was especially troubling. Upon learning of racial harassment in the workplace, it is an employer's obligation under the law to ensure that it does not continue."

According to the EEOC, supervisors and co-workers subjected black and Hispanic employees to consistent discrimination. The EEOC says the company was completely aware of the situation and did not take action to stop it. Additionally, the company purportedly retaliated against employees who spoke up by firing them or forcing them to quit.

"An employer only makes a bad situation worse and violates federal law when it retaliates against an employee for raising concerns about discriminatory behavior,” said EEOC New York District Office director Kevin Berry. “Preventing retaliation against employees who come to the EEOC for help is one of the agency's top priorities."

EEOC seeks monetary and injunctive relief.

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