Phoenix steel fabrication company settles federal racial harassment lawsuit

Dec 21, 2023, 4:05 AM

Stock image of a man with his hand on a metal beam in a factory setting...

A Phoenix-based steel fabrication company was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged race harassment. (Pixabay Stock Photo)

(Pixabay Stock Photo)

PHOENIX – A Phoenix steel fabrication company settled a federal lawsuit by agreeing to pay $500,000 to employees who were allegedly subjected to racial harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Wednesday.

Schuff Steel also agreed to implement companywide policy changes and prevention measures.

The EEOC lawsuit alleged that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against minority employees at its Eloy plant and retaliating against them if they complained.

A plant manager was accused of regularly subjecting Black and Latino workers to racial slurs and other harassment. Employees who complained were moved to the night shift or fired, according to the EEOC.

“No person should ever have to work in such a racist and hostile work environment in order to make a living to support their families,” Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, said in a press release. “And it is particularly troublesome that this behavior was done by a manager in this case.”

As part of a three-year consent decree, Schuff Steel agreed to retain outside counsel to update its Equal Employment Opportunity policies and to establish a hotline for discrimination and harassment complaints. The policies must be distributed in English and Spanish.

The company also has to provide anti-discrimination training to its employees, managers and human resources personnel at the Eloy plant and Phoenix headquarters.

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Phoenix steel fabrication company settles federal racial harassment lawsuit