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Electric company settles accusations of race discrimination

Many companies in San Diego and throughout the entire state of California claim to offer a diverse work environment that is free of discrimination. Although this may be true in many workplaces, discrimination still exists. Fortunately, those affected by discrimination in the workplace may be able to take legal action in order to make sure that their employers are held accountable for violating the rights of employees.

Recently, an electric company accused of violating an employee's rights because of his race has agreed to provide remedial relief and pay $40,000 to settle a lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The race discrimination lawsuit claims that the company fired a black employee after deeming him responsible for damage incurred by a group of employees during a light installation project.

However, after reviewing the circumstances of the man's termination from the company, the EEOC concluded that the man was wrongfully terminated and that the man's employer had violated anti-discrimination laws.

The EEOC claimed that the man was not the crew's supervisor. Therefore, the man could not be held responsible for the damage. The suit claimed that the two individuals actually in charge of the project and the work crew, both white, were not disciplined in any way for the incident, nor were the workers that caused the damage.

The company will be obligated to review its racial discrimination policy with its managers and supervisors. It must also send managers and supervisors to anti-discrimination training, provide reports on other terminations to the EEOC and inform its workers of the recent settlement. This is all in addition to the $40,000 in damages it must pay.

An attorney with the EEOC said the agency is glad to have succeeded in the lawsuit and is pleased that the outcome will obligate the company to more strongly encourage anti-discrimination. However, she added that it is unfortunate that even 45 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, racial discrimination continues to plague workplaces across the country.

Source: EEOC, "Salem Electric Company to Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Suit," Nov. 8, 2011