Texas Oilfield Company Fired Worker for Complaining About Harassment Because He Is Not Hispanic, Federal Agency Charged
DALLAS – An Alice, Texas-based oilfield service company will pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race, national origin and retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged the company’s Hispanic supervisors discriminated against a parts department employee because of his race (Caucasian) and national origin (non-Hispanic) and then fired him for complaining.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. C-08-316 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas), Coil Tubing Services, L.L.C., subjected Bert Yaklin to harassment, a hostile work environment, and disparate terms and conditions of employment because he is not Latino. The EEOC also charged that the defendant further violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by unlawfully retaliating against Yaklin when it fired him after he complained to Human Resources.
“A continuously hostile environment that is permeated with degrading name calling makes it very difficult for anyone to want to come to work,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney William C. Backhaus. “About the only thing that can be worse than allowing an environment of racial prejudice is to follow that up by firing an employee who reports it, instead of engaging in an immediate effort to investigate and deter it.”
In the consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack on September 4, 2009, Coil Tubing agreed to pay $60,000 in settlement. The company also agreed to post an anti-discrimination notice; enforce a written policy against race discrimination and conduct anti-discrimination training for supervisors, managers and the human resource manager at the Alice facility.
“As the workplace evolves demographically, it is important for top management to ensure that a non-discriminatory environment is maintained regardless of changes in the race of people in the pecking order on an organizational chart,” said Robert Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas Office. “Even in rough-and-tumble workplaces like the oilfields, there are effective ways of educating supervisory personnel on how to promote mutual respect between crew members.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on September 9, 2009.
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