According to Andersonvalleypost.com, the EEOC has just settled for $95,000 a national origin discrimination and retaliation claim brought in California on behalf of an employee of Egyptian descent against Sierra Pacific Industries. The allegation was that after 9/11, the employee was called “Osama,” “f—ing Arabian,” and “camel jockey” by co-workers, and that the company permitted this to go on after the employee complained, and eventually fired him.
The interesting thing about this matter is despite settling the lawsuit, the company vehemently denies discriminating against the employee and firing him in retaliation. Instead, it claims that the employee was fired because he was a serial sexual harasser.
Sounding exactly like an EEOC attorney quoted in an official press release, a company spokesman said that “Sexual harassment is something we take very seriously. We will not tolerate it in our company and will terminate employees who have harassed others.”
So is there a zero-tolerance company policy for sexual harassment, but not for national discrimination harassment? No, says the company, which contends that its settlement of the case was not an admission of liability, but that it “only agreed to settle the case in order to stop spending money and to free the courts of a merit-less case.”