$135,000 Settlement in Race and Religious Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit Against Not-for-Profit Developer, Training Ordered

 
Friday, March 8, 2013
 

Question:  Would discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.
Grand Central  Partnership, Inc. will pay $135,000 and furnish other relief to settle an  employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC).   The EEOC had charged that the not-for-profit developer of real estate,  offices, and facilities around Grand Central Terminal in New York City  unlawfully fired a black Rastafarian security officer for his 2010 complaints  of threats of violence and racism and his participation in an EEOC lawsuit  resolved in 2009.  

The EEOC's 2011 lawsuit asserted  that a non-Rastafarian security officer threatened to shoot a group of  Rastafarian officers.  When the  Rastafarians complained, a white security supervisor made light of the physical  threat and implied the Rastafarians were at fault.  One Rastafarian security officer objected to  the supervisor's reaction and complained that he heard the supervisor had  referred to the Rastafarians by the "N-word."   The Rastafarian security officer immediately contacted EEOC about the  incident.  The EEOC said that Grand  Central Partner­ship fired the security officer for this. 

In 2008, the EEOC  sued Grand Central Partnership for failing to accommodate the religious beliefs  of four Rastafarian employees who needed modifications to its dress code.  That lawsuit was resolved by a 2009 consent  decree which prohibited Grand Central Partnership from retaliating against  Rastafarian security officers for their participation in the lawsuit.   The 2011 lawsuit alleged that Grand Central  Partnership unlawfully terminated the Rastafarian security officer and breached  the earlier consent decree which was still subject to supervision by the  federal court.

In addition to the monetary relief  which will be paid to the Rastafarian security officer, the new consent decree  requires Grand Central Partnership to conduct extensive training on  investigating discrimination complaints, including methods for proper  documentation and unbiased assessment of witness credibility.  The decree also requires Grand Central  Partnership to regularly report to EEOC about any further complaints of  religious discrimination or retaliation.     

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