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The Oklahoma-based American Piping Inspection (API) recently settled with federal prosecutors and agreed to pay $250,000 in damages after a black employee was subjected to racist treatment and ultimately fired, according to a press release of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
After being hired as a radiologist in 2017, the employee complained that his supervisor made racist and threatening “jokes” — including a joke about shooting black men and then gesturing at the radiographer as if he was aiming a gun, according to the Star telegram. Reportedly, the supervisor made these jokes around the radiologist and others.
Although the radiologist complained to API’s vice president, the company did nothing. Management instead subjected the radiologist to harsh disciplinary action, especially when compared to non-black radiographers. API eventually fired him, the EEOC said, on false allegations that he improperly stored and registered equipment. According to the lawsuit, this was after at least 10 white radiographers committed similar offenses but kept their jobs.
In a statement, Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, said in part, “Other employers should take to heart and review their practices and policies to ensure compliance with federal law. Otherwise, the EEOC will enforce against violators and seek redress for injured employees.”
In addition to compensation, the company will need to review its anti-discrimination policy and provide mandatory training to prevent and address workplace discrimination.