April 17, 2023

On April 6, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that Alden Short, Inc. and Hinson Jennings LLC, a Dallas-based property management company, will pay $85,000 and provide other relief to settle national origin harassment claims brought by the EEOC against the company.

In the suit, which was filed in 2018, the EEOC alleged that the owner and president and the chief operating officer (COO) subjected three Hispanic employees to a hostile work environment at the company’s Richardson, Texas facility. The agency alleged that top management officials made comments to the employees concerning heritage, their parents, and children, all relating to their national origin. For example, according to the EEOC, one former employee said the COO told her he could treat her any way he wanted to because she is Mexican. The suit also alleged that managers frequently described Mexican people as lazy, uneducated and undeserving.

The settlement comes after five years of litigation, during which the parties did extensive discovery, including numerous depositions, and the company filed an unsuccessful summary judgment motion.

In addition to the $85,000 payment, the consent decree settling the case requires the company to:

  • formulate and distribute to each employee an employee handbook including a policy on employment discrimination under Title VII, within 60 days of the entry of the consent decree; and
  • provide one hour of training on Title VII to all employees, including the owner and COO, annually, for a period of three years.

The settlement requires that the training cover what constitutes national origin harassment, how to prevent it, and how and to whom employees may complain if they feel they have been subjected to national origin harassment in the workplace. Within 20 days of completing the training each year, the company is required to certify its completion and provide a list of training attendees to the EEOC.

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Consistent with EEOC guidelines and court decisions, Traliant’s online sexual harassment prevention training covers not just sexual harassment, but all forms of workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, including harassment based on gender identity and expression. Traliant’s harassment training addresses all of the required content of all state and local training laws, including those in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New York State and New York City. As required by various state and local laws, the training addresses topics beyond sexual harassment such as bullying and bystander intervention. Request a full course preview here. 

Complete Harassment & EEO Compliance Program

To comply with federal guidelines and state laws, employers must ensure that all aspects of their harassment prevention program are fully compliant. With its in-house legal expertise, Traliant provides employers a complete workplace harassment prevention program with the following elements:

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Elissa Rossi