Racist trophy at holiday party costs employer $22,500

Dive Brief:

  • A pre-owned car dealership in Dallas, Texas, will pay a Black worker $22,500 after a colleague awarded him a trophy labeled “Least Likely to Be Seen In The Dark,” according to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission press release. 
  • Following the holiday office party where the incident occurred, the plaintiff complained to his manager. No disciplinary action occurred; moreover, the plaintiff’s co-workers harassed him further about the trophy after he returned to his job after the holidays, the EEOC said. 
  • Per the EEOC, along with monetary damages, the automotive company must provide racial discrimination and harassment training training to all workers.

Dive Insight:

A senior trial attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas office said that, along with resolving the case on behalf of the harassed Dallas auto worker, training regarding race for Autos of Dallas was “important” to the agency.

This EEOC crackdown is in line with the agency’s 2022-2026 strategic plan, with one of the main values being “accountability.” 

The strategic plan noted the importance of both combating and preventing discrimination. More explicitly, per its strategic “crosswalk”: The EEOC said the plan is to “use administrative and litigation mechanisms to identify and eradicate discriminatory policies and practices, including systemic practices.”

In a statement, EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino expressed perplexity at “how almost 60 years after the passage of Title VII, with its prohibitions against employment discrimination, managers facilitate or permit blatant derogatory treatment based on an employee’s race or skin color.”

Canino underscored that leaders at businesses — “big or small” — need to “communicate expectations clearly” and show “explicitly” that racist behavior should not be tolerated.