Floyd’s Equipment Inc., a Sikeston, Mo. contractor, has agreed to pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced this week.

The EEOC filed suit against the company in September 2017, charging that Floyd’s had violated federal law by discriminating against an employee because of his race.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a foreman at Floyd’s Equipment repeatedly used the slur “n----r.” After an African-American employee, Rodney Woodall, complained, the foreman angrily confronted him.

Rather than disciplining the harasser, the company transferred Woodall from his assignment as a backhoe operator to a less desirable job doing pick-and-shovel work in another state, according to the suit. Ultimately, Floyd’s fired Woodall.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin, as well as forbids retaliation against applicants or employees who complain about such discrimination.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Floyd’s Equipment, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-00175-SNLJ), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $25,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree signed by Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. enjoins Floyd’s from violating Title VII in the future.

Floyd’s also agreed to draft and implement written company anti-discrimination policies, provide annual anti-discrimination training to supervisory or management-level employees, and have crew leaders conduct quarterly jobsite “toolbox talks” with employees regarding the company's antidiscrimination policies and the process for reporting discrimination to Floyd's and the EEOC. The company will also report to the EEOC on how it handles any complaints of discrimination and post a notice regarding the settlement.

“This fair and amicable resolution both compensates Mr. Woodall for his losses and will help protect others from discrimination and retaliation in the future.” said James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office.

Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis, added, “Employers need to ensure that they have policies and practices consistent with federal laws to not only protect employees from discrimination, but also protect them against retaliation when they complain.”

The EEOC advances opportunity by enforcing federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

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