The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a lawsuit against a California Sam's Club store where an employee harassed several other employees about their national origin. According to Reuters, the lawsuit alleged ethnic harassment on the part of one employee of Mexican-American heritage toward nine employees of Mexican descent as well as of an employee who was married to a Mexican national.
The ethnic harassment occurred at a Sam's Club in Fresno. The harassment occurred several years ago. A Sam's Club spokesperson told Reuters that the company took the allegations seriously and fired the employee after it heard of the allegations and investigated them. The employees said that they were frequently harassed about their ethnic heritage beginning in 2005. Workers are legally protected from harassment based on what country they, their family members or their ancestors came from. Sam's Club has agreed to settle the lawsuit with the EEOC.
Sam's Club is owned by Wal-Mart, which is the world's largest private employer. Wal-Mart is currently waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the largest class-action discrimination lawsuit ever filed against a private employer can proceed. Several women filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the company claiming discrimination in pay and promotions, and the plaintiffs would like the lawsuit to be awarded class-action status. If the lawsuit is allowed to proceed as a class-action, it will represent all current and former female employees of Wal-Mart since the late 90s, or over one million women workers.
Wal-Mart settles ethnic harassment suit (Reuters)