The Greensboro office of Ricoh Electronics has settled EEOC harassment and national-origin discrimination claims filed on behalf of three employees who claimed they had to endure years of harassment and abuse—and then were fired for complaining.
James Nyema-Davies (a black Liberian), Anibal Melendez (from Puerto Rico) and Gustavo Tovar (a Colombian) said a Ricoh manager constantly subjected them to derogatory comments about their ethnicity and national origins.
The three claim they repeatedly complained to Ricoh, but no steps were ever taken to address their concerns. The last time they complained, Ricoh suspended and then fired them.
That’s when they went to the EEOC. After mediation attempts failed, the EEOC decided to sue, a move that got the company’s attention. Instead of taking its chances in court, Ricoh elected to settle.
The men will split $125,000. The settlement agreement calls for Ricoh to train managers about national-origin and racial discrimination. It must report any similar complaints to the EEOC for the next two years.
Note: Ricoh’s unwillingness to challenge its manager created a toxic work environment—and ultimately cost the company a sizeable amount of money. Employers must make it clear to all managers and supervisors that they are expected to treat all employees with respect.
- With harassment, punishment should fit crime
- At-will employment remains alive and well in Pennsylvania
- Keep cases from escalating: When hot-headed manager blows up, order cooling-off period
- It's essential to have clear hiring and promotion criteria
- Supervisors need to know: Honest performance assessments essential