The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-25-09

PEARSALL NURSING CENTER SUED BY EEOC FOR RACIAL HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION

Agency Says Black Employee Subjected to Racial Slurs and Insults; White Co-Worker Fired for Reporting Harassment

SAN ANTONIO – A Pearsall, Texas nursing and rehabilitation center violated federal law by subjecting an African American employee to racial harassment and retaliation, and also by retaliating against both her and a white colleague who objected to the misconduct, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (Civil Action No. SA09CA0775FB), Regency Nursing Center Partners of Pearsall, Ltd., doing business as Pearsall Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Inc., allowed and condoned the racial harassment of the black employee by her subordinate. The woman was repeatedly called the “N-word” together with other demeaning expletives. Then, the agency charged, Pearsall fired her after she reported the illegal discrimination, and also discharged a white employee for reporting the harassment of her colleague.

“Every employee has the right to a workplace free from harassment,” said Eduardo Juarez, senior trial attorney of the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “No one should be subjected to derogatory slurs and comments based on their race, and no company should even tolerate such behavior in its workplace -- let alone fire employees for bringing it to the employer’s attention.”

Racial harassment and retaliation for opposing it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of a notice at the worksite, and other injunctive relief.

Judith G. Taylor, supervisory trial attorney of the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office, said, “Employers should be aware that they have a responsibility to prevent discriminatory treatment and to take remedial action to correct it when they are made aware of it. You would hope to see a company appreciate an employee who advises management about discrimination against co-workers, instead of deterring such conscientious employees with punitive actions.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


This page was last modified on September 25, 2009.

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