NEW YORK — The U.S. government is suing an upstate New York porous materials business, over allegations its plant manager used racial slurs and sexist remarks against employees.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges Porous Materials Inc., (PMI) of Ithaca, New York, subjected employees to abusive remarks.
According to the EEOC, a plant manager used racial slurs and called foreign-born employees "terrorists." The plant manager told the plant's only black employee that her husband should work in a cotton field with a rope around his neck. The manager also called female employees "bitches" and complained he was "sick" of immigrants stealing U.S. jobs and not speaking English, the EEOC alleges.
According to the EEOC, the company owner did not to stop the harassment and engaged in similar behavior himself, including telling a female employee she was fat and disgusting and that she would not be getting a raise because of her sex.
"Businesses may think that permitting sex, race and national origin-based harassment in the workplace is acceptable," EEOC trial attorney Daniel Seltzer said in a statement. "It isn't, and those who do so will be held accountable."
"Employers cannot ignore harassment, let alone fire employees who report it," added EEOC New York District Office regional attorney Jeffrey Burstein. "If employers fail to protect their workers, the EEOC will."
The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.