CLEVELAND — Wheeler Trucking violated federal civil rights laws when the company subjected an employee at its Lorain County, Ohio location to harassment because of race and religion, denied him a religious accommodation, retaliated against him for complaining and separated him from employment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced on Thursday, Oct. 12.
According to court documents, Wheeler Trucking “subjected the former employee to frequent, severe harassment because of race and religion and denied him Saturdays off work, which he requested as a religious accommodation.”
The EEOC alleged that the harassment by Wheeler Trucking personnel included the use of racial slurs and other derogatory terms.
“The former employee complained about the harassment multiple times during his employment, but the company did not make meaningful efforts to remedy the harassment or prevent future harassment,” an EEOC news release stated.
The EEOC alleged that after the former employee opposed the discrimination and harassment, the company’s treatment of him worsened and ultimately resulted in his separation from employment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation, race discrimination and religious discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (EEOC v. Wheeler Trucking d/b/a Wheeler Trucking, Inc. and Wheeler Logistics, Inc., Case No. 1:23-cv-01874) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process.
“Employers that fail to correct and prevent harassment must be held accountable,” said Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The EEOC is committed to remedying and preventing harassment because of race and religion.”
The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
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