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PRESS RELEASE
10-22-09

Bridgewater Interiors Agrees To Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Suit

Auto Parts Supplier Failed to Promote Black Man Because of Race, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT – Bridgewater Interiors, LLC has agreed to resolve a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. Bridgewater Interiors, a joint venture between Johnson Controls and Epsilon LLC of Detroit, produces seating and interior systems for major automakers in North America.

According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 2:08-CV-12343 filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), Bridgewater subjected Michael Christopher, an African American who worked on the line of the auto parts supplier, to discrimination by failing to promote him to a maintenance position because of his race.

The two-year consent decree resolving the case requires Bridgewater to conduct annual training of its managers and supervisors on race discrimination. After the EEOC filed its suit, Christopher suffered a work-related injury and brought a worker’s compensation claim against Bridgewater. The decree also acknowledges that Bridgewater will pay $105,000 to Christopher to resolve all of his claims, including his worker’s compensation claim.

“This is a favorable resolution for everyone,” explained EEOC attorney Nedra Campbell. “We are confident Bridgewater is committed to complying with Title VII and ensuring that all of its employees are offered equal access to promotional opportunities. Bridgewater should be commended for taking the necessary steps to resolve this case.”

Race discrimination, including denying an employee a promotion based on race, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.