The Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that a federal judge has approved a $1.2 million settlement in a case brought by the agency against Dart Energy Corp. and two related companies. The EEOC had charged well servicing companies Dart Energy Corp., Beckman Production Services, Inc., and J&R Well Service, LLC with violating federal law prohibiting race and national origin harassment and retaliation. The agency sought monetary and injunctive relief for more than a dozen men who claimed that they were repeatedly subjected to racial epithets and jokes.
According to the suit, a truck pusher and other J&R employees, regularly used terms like "wetback" and "beaner" to refer to Hispanic employees, "wagon burner" to refer to Native American employees, and the "N-word" to refer to African American employees. The truck pusher was also accused of referring to shovels as "Mexican backhoes" and commenting that "Custer should have killed all the Indians." According to EEOC, several individuals complained to management to no avail. The agency also alleged that several men were demoted or terminated after complaining to the Wyoming Department of Employment Labor Standards Division.
In addition to paying $1.2 million, the defendants in the case are also subject to a three-year consent decree which requires extensive training on employment discrimination laws, the establishment of a toll-free anonymous complaint line, and annual surveys of employees to ensure that discrimination is not occurring at J&R facilities.
For more information about the EEOC and the laws it enforces, go to www.eeoc.gov.