Our blog of September 27th discussed the EEOC’s crackdown on racially hostile work environments, and highlighted the use in many cases of the same racially derogatory words and racist tropes. We spotlighted a recent federal jury punitive damages award of $200,000 to three former employees of AA Foundries, who claimed that a top company official “used the "N" word” and a superintendent called adult African-American male employees "mother-f---g boys."
Apparently the judge found that this award was insufficient, and the EEOC announced today that on October 9th the judge granted the EEOC's post-trial request for a permanent injunction against future discrimination, stating that he is "convinced that injunctive relief is necessary in this case." The judge therefore:
- permanently enjoined AA Foundries from engaging in any employment practice which facilitates, condones, or encourages a hostile work environment based on race, or from engaging in any other employment practice which discriminates on the basis of race;
- ordered that AA Foundries must develop a policy and procedures for handling reports of racial harassment, develop an effective investigation process for all complaints of racial harassment, and distribute a written policy and provide equal employment opportunity training to all employees, including managerial employees; and
- directed that the EEOC monitor compliance with the order.
An EEOC attorney commented on the judge's order by advising employers (and she could have lifted her comments from any number of our blogs): "Today, the court has affirmed the importance for all employers to have effective policies and procedures in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace. A strong policy, meaningful training and a swift response to complaints are a company's most effective tools for addressing an existing hostile work environment or to prevent one from arising.”