Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Six-Figure Hispanic Slurs

Last Friday, the EEOC issued this press release about the resolution of a national origin harassment case brought against a suburban Chicago Hilton. "[T]he EEOC charged that the hotel’s executive chef regularly referred to Hispanic employees as 's--cs' and 'wetbacks'." Title VII prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of national origin so this is clearly a no-no (of course, it would also be offensive even if technically lawful).

The case was resolved by a "three-year consent decree . . . provid[ing] $195,000 in monetary relief, which includes attorney’s fees, [to] be distributed among two employees who filed charges of discrimination with EEOC and another additional employee." The decree also mandates remedial training for all employees and "personal anti-discrimination training" for the name-calling chef.

The case is a reminder to employers that ethnic and racial slurs can come with a hefty price tag if left unchecked.

Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.