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Don's, EEOC reach settlement over racism accusations

Don's Specialty Meats
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 18:15:51-05

Don's Speciality Meats and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have reached a settlement.

A few months ago the EEOC filed a civil rights suit against the company, alleging that a black man employed there was subjected to racist treatment. The suit, filed in federal court in September, alleges that the employee was identified as "black boy" on the work schedule, called the n-word and subjected to harassment at work because he is a black person. To read our story about the suit, and to read the suit for yourself, click here.

Court records show that the two parties filed a joint motion this week, asking the Court to approve a consent decree they have hammered out.

The Motion states that Don's and the EEOC have agreed to a "fair and equitable" settlement that "serves the purposes" of federal Civil Rights laws. However, it also states that "Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc. has not admitted and does not admit that it engaged in any unlawful practices."

The parties agree to pay their own costs and attorneys' fees, except that Don's will pay for any future costs if the EEOC is required to enforce the decree. The agreement does constitute a judgment against Don's Specialty Meats, and the Court will maintain jurisdiction over any disputes that arise under the agreement.

The man who made the original complaint to the EEOC will get $67,500 to settle the claims that EEOC brought on his behalf. Of that amount, $17,500 is back pay, the document states.

Don's Specialty Meats also agrees to:

  • Take steps to ensure it does not discriminate against employees based on race.
  • Take steps to ensure it does not discriminate in hiring against people based on race.

The company agrees that it will follow these requirements:

  • Don's is must not engage in, encourage or permit discriminatory conduct.
  • Don's must not retaliate against any employee or applicant who either filed a discrimination claim or assisted in the EEOC investigation.
  • Don's must not mention this litigation or complaint if someone calls them to ask for a reference for the employee involved.
  • Don's must keep all documents regarding this litigation confidential, including any information in the man's personnel file.

Don's agreed to appoint a liaison who will be educated on what happened in this case, and will provide at least one hour of training annually to all employees that includes instruction in discrimination and federal laws that govern it.

And, the company agrees to create anti-discrimination policies that include a way for employees to complain about that type of behavior without retaliation - and appoint someone who will investigate all of these claims.

The agreement also includes provisions for the company to report progress to the EEOC, and for the EEOC to continue to monitor the company's employment practices.

Here's a copy of the Motion and the Consent Decree, if you'd like to read for yourself: