Diversity Insight

Lockheed Martin settles race discrimination case for $2.5 million

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest military contractor, will have to pay former employee Charles Daniels $2.5 million. The African-American electrician was subjected to a racially hostile work environment at several job sites nationwide. This is the largest amount ever obtained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for a single person in a discrimination case. In addition to paying Daniels, the company has agreed to terminate the harassers and make significant policy changes to address any future discrimination.Daniels was the target of persistent verbal abuse by coworkers and a supervisor whose racial slurs and offensive language included calling him the “N-word” and saying “we should do to blacks what Hitler did to the Jews” and “if the South had won then this would be a better country.” After Daniels reported the verbal harassment, his coworkers also made physical threats, including lynching and other death threats. Lockheed didn’t discipline the harassers and allowed the discrimination to continue.

The litigation and consent decree were filed by the EEOC under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the U.S. Court for the District of Hawaii (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lockheed Martin, CV-05-00479).

EEOC Honolulu Local Office Director Timothy Riera and said of the case, “The overt harassment to which Mr. Daniels was subjected in Hawaii represents some of the most severe misconduct this office has come across. It is imperative that employers here take proactive measures to ensure that discrimination complaints are taken seriously and that all employees work in an environment free of harassment.”

According to the EEOC, race is the most frequently alleged basic for discrimination, and racial harassment charge filings have more than doubled since the early 1990s (from 3,075 in 1991 to about 7,000 in 2007).
Jury slams AT&T for religious discrimination

A jury awarded $756,000 in a religious discrimination lawsuit filed against AT&T, Inc., on behalf of two male customer service technicians who were suspended and fired for attending a Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention.

The jury of nine women and three men awarded the two former employees, Jose Gonzalez and Glenn Owen (brothers-in-law), $296,000 in back pay and $460,000 in compensatory damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the four-day trial, the jury heard evidence that both men had submitted written requests to their manager in January 2005 for one day of leave to attend a religious observance that was scheduled for Friday, July 15, to Sunday, July 17, 2005. Both men testified that they had sincerely held religious beliefs that required them to attend the convention each year. Both men had attended the convention every year throughout their employment with AT&T — Gonzalez worked at the company for more than eight years and Owen was employed there for nearly six years.