Houston Contractor Settles Discrimination Case

A Houston-area construction company has agreed to pay $122,500 and provide additional remedial relief to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced recently. EEOC said Pace Services L.P. discriminated against Mohammad Kaleemuddin because he is of the Islamic faith and of East Indian descent, and against 13 other employees because they are black or Hispanic.

EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:08cv2886, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division) asserted that a Pace supervisor referred to Kaleemuddin as “terrorist,” “Taliban,” “Osama,” and “Al-Qaeda.” According to EEOC, despite Kaleemuddin’s complaints, Pace never took action to stop the harassment, which continued up to the day when the supervisor fired him. EEOC further claimed that the same supervisor, as well as others in Pace management, regularly referred to African Americans as “n----s” and to Hispanics as “f-----g Mexicans.”

Under the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen William Smith, Pace Services will pay $61,250 in relief to compensate Kaleemuddin. An additional $61,250 will be distributed among the other employees who were harassed. In addition to the monetary payments, the decree directs that Pace’s owner shall provide a signed letter of apology to Kaleemuddin; that the manager alleged to have made many of the racist remarks be prohibited from ever working again for Pace; and that Pace provide employee training designed to prevent future discrimination and harassment on the job.

EEOC Houston Regional Attorney Jim Sacher said, “Employees have an absolute right to be free from discriminatory harassment in the workplace. The EEOC will vigorously challenge violations of this statutory right.”

Kaleemuddin added, “I would like to thank all the guys I used to work with at Pace for standing up for the truth.”

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