HONOLULU (KHON2) — A food distributor on the Big Island has agreed to pay $90,000 and provide other relief to settle a race harassment and retaliation lawsuit.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made the announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
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According to the lawsuit, supervisors at Suisan’s Hilo warehouse repeatedly used racial slurs involving the n-word and made racist references to slavery directed at a Black warehouse employee. When the employee complained to management, he was suspended then abruptly terminated the next day.
In addition to $90,000 payment, Suisan has agreed to put in place effective measures that will address and prevent discrimination in the workplace.
Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction, released the following statement in Wednesday’s announcement:
Park added that other employers should take note and review their current practices to make sure they are complying with federal law.
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“Retaliation is the most alleged discrimination complaint filed with the EEOC,” stated EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office Director Raymond Griffin, Jr. “Employees have the right to report discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and employers have an obligation to ensure they are not retaliating against employees who complain.”