February 6, 2007

EEOC ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENTS OF RACIAL HARASSMENT LAWSUITS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced two new settlements involving racial harassment.

AK Steel Corporation – $600,000 Settlement: AK Steel Corporation will pay $600,000 to settle a racial harassment lawsuit that charged the company created and condoned a racially hostile work environment for a group of African American employees, which included long-term widespread racist and threatening displays at its Butler, Pennsylvania facility. Specific allegations included: display of nooses and swastikas in work areas, racial slurs and epithets, and open display of Ku Klux Klan videos in employee lounge areas. Some of the graffiti contained direct or implied threats to African Americans, such as a message to “kill” them.

Target Corporation – $775,000 Settlement: Target Corporation will pay $775,000 to fourteen African American employees to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit that alleged the company created and condoned a racially hostile work environment at its Springfield, Pennsylvania store for African American employees. Specific allegations of racial harassment included inappropriate comments and verbal berating based on race. When one of the African American employees objected to this treatment, he was allegedly retaliated against, leaving him no choice but to resign.

The EEOC has reported there were 27,238 discrimination charges filed in 2006 against private sector employers based on race, the most frequent allegation made.

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