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EEOC Files Suit for Racial Harassment against Large Sports Retailer

2017-07-24

Big 5 Sporting Goods allegedly allowed ongoing racial harassment, a death threat and retaliatory discipline against a black management trainee in Oak Harbor, WA, according to the EEOC.  After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement, EEOC filed its lawsuit.

The management trainee, Robert Sanders, was the only black employee working at that location.  According to EEOC’s investigation, Sanders was called “spook,” “boy” and “King Kong” by the store manager and several assistant managers.  He was also told that he had the “face of a janitor.”  Sanders allegedly reported the conduct to upper management who failed to act.  Instead the harassment escalated and he was retaliated against with the assignment of increased workloads, denial of breaks, and unwarranted discipline.  After he took several leave of absences due to stress, one assistant manager told him “We will hang you, we will seriously lynch you if you call in again this week.”  Another assistant manager asked Sanders if he was “ready to commit suicide,” offering “assistance” when he was ready to do so.   Yet another said “You’re the perfect definition of ‘spook’ because your skin is so dark, but your teeth are so white.”

EEOC Press Release

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.