Firm settles harassment claims
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org August 27, 2012 3:52PM
Updated: August 27, 2012 3:52PM
A Florida company will pay $2.75 million to settle allegations that black employees at a work site on Chicago’s South Side were subjected to racial harassment, including hangman’s nooses and epithets.
The settlement between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and WRS Environmental and Infrastructure covers seven black employees and four white workers who were allegedly harassed because they associated with the black co-workers, according to the EEOC.
The settlement, announced Monday, came as the EEOC was preparing to go to trial in its case against the company, alleging black employees were subjected to a racially hostile work environment. A consent decree approved as part of the settlement will require WRS to develop a policy on how to investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment, and evaluate superviors regarding their compliance with the firm’s revised anti-discrimination policy, the EEOC said.
The 11 plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit were working to clean up hazardous materials at a site near 117th Street and Stony Island Avenue, and the harassment is alleged to have begun in late 2006 and continued through 2007, according to the EEOC.
WRS had asked to have the case dismissed.