Little Rock real estate company to pay $600,000 to settle charges it excluded blacks for jobs and punished employees for complaining about bias
Bankers Asset Management, Inc., a real estate company in Little Rock, Arkansas will pay $600,000 to former employees and a class of applicants to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC). The agency’s suit (dkt no 4:10-CV-002070-SWW), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, alleged that the company excluded black applicants for jobs at the company’s Little Rock location based upon their race. The EEOC also alleged that the company retaliated against other employees and former employees for opposing or testifying about the race discrimination, by demoting and forcing one out of her job and by suing others in state court.
In addition to injunctive and monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit requires that BAM:
- provide mandatory annual three-hour training on race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII to all of its employees;
- have its president or another officer appear at the training to inform staff of the company’s non-discrimination policy regarding race and retaliation; that the company will not tolerate such discrimination; and the consequences for discriminating in the workplace;
- maintain records of complaints of race and retaliation discrimination;
- provide annual reports to the EEOC regarding such complaints;
- issue a memo to one of the hiring officials explaining that BAM does not discriminate on the basis of race and retaliation; and
- post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that provides the EEOC’s contact information.
“Excluding qualified individuals from job opportunities because of their race or in retaliation for exercising protected rights are fundamental violations of the laws we enforce,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez in a statement. “As this case demonstrates, the EEOC is prepared to vigorously pursue such cases and resolutions that help ensure that workplaces will be free from discrimination. Recent cases we have filed alleging hiring discrimination, such as our suit against Bass Pro, demonstrate this continued commitment.”
“We are pleased that this company worked with us to reach a satisfactory resolution in this matter to ensure black applicants will be judged based on their qualifications,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “The measures in the decree will work to ensure that African-American applicants are treated in the same manner as others, and that employees who have the courage to oppose race discrimination are protected against retaliation.”