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Oklahoma-based American Piping Inspection (API) recently settled with federal prosecutors and agreed to pay $250,000 in compensation after a Black employee was subjected to racist treatment and eventually fired, according to a press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
After the employee was hired as a radiographer in 2017, he complained that his supervisor made racist and threatening “jokes” — including a crack about shooting Black men and then gesturing at the radiographer as if aiming a gun, according to the Star-Telegram. The supervisor reportedly made these jokes around the radiographer and others.
Even though the radiographer complained to API’s vice president, the company did nothing. Management instead subjected the radiographer to harsh disciplinary measures, especially compared to non-Black radiographers. API eventually fired him, the EEOC said, based on false accusations he improperly stored and logged equipment. According to the lawsuit, this was after at least ten white radiographers committed similar infractions 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 heed and review their practices and policies to ensure compliance with federal law. Otherwise, the EEOC will enforce the law against violators and seek redress for aggrieved employees.”
In addition to compensation, the company will have to revise its anti-discrimination policies and provide mandatory training to prevent and address workplace discrimination.