A Black worker at a transportation firm facility in Southern California complained of racial harassment. Rather than address the situation and correct the issue, Miami-based Ryder and its temporary staffing agency partner chose to fire the employee within days of his complaint.
The incident marked one of the factors leading to Ryder and California-based Kimco Staffing Services having to settle a lawsuit and pay $2 million for the harassment and discrimination of Black workers. The settlement was announced on May 26 in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The case dates back to late 2019.
Racial slurs and epithets
The EEOC contended that Ryder and Kimco allowed employees to make racial slurs and epithets toward Black workers at Ryder’s Moreno Valley facility. And the lawsuit noted that discrimination touched on many work-related aspects, including conditions of employment, training, promotion, discipline and termination. Ryder and Kimco will each pay $1 million as part of the settlement.
In addition, Ryder must hire an equal opportunity coordinator and create a system that tracks complaints related to racial harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Also, Ryder must revise policies that address prohibiting discrimination and provide that information to all employees.
The latter developments represent standard procedures related to nearly every legal case stemming from racial discrimination and harassment. But the real proof of a company’s commitment to equality only comes when it stamps out a culture that accepts racial discrimination. There is no room for that in any company.
Racial discrimination and retaliation continue to remain a problem in the U.S. workplace. Let us see just how much employers remain willing to change and improve things for workers of color.