Pioneer Hotel, Inc. in Laughlin, Nev., will pay $150,000 and furnish other relief to settle a national origin and color discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.
The EEOC charged that a class of Latino and/or brown-skinned workers was subjected to a barrage of highly offensive and derogatory comments about their national origin and/or skin color since at least 2006. Housekeeping and security department staffers in particular were constantly the targets of slurs by several supervisors and co-workers. In addition, the EEOC asserted that Latino / brown-skinned workers were told not to speak Spanish during their break times. Pioneer failed to stop and rectify the harassment and discrimination despite repeated complaints by the Latino / brown-skinned workers, according to the EEOC.
The EEOC and Pioneer entered into a four-year consent decree to resolve the suit, prohibiting Pioneer from creating, facilitating or permitting a hostile work environment for employees who are Latino or darker-skinned.
Pioneer also agreed to pay $150,000 to the class members and hire an outside equal employment opportunity consultant to ensure that the company implements effective policies, procedures and training for all employees to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Pursuant to the decree, Pioneer management will receive additional training on its responsibilities under Title VII; be required to immediately report complaints to the human resources department; and be held accountable for failing to take appropriate action. Pioneer further agreed to visibly post the notice of consent decree at the hotel and create a centralized system to track complaints. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the decree.
Isolated instances of harassment can quickly escalate into a full-scale hostile work environment when employers neglect their duty to take immediate, corrective action upon learning of the initial problem.