A moving and storage company with operations in Utah will pay $450,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit that alleged it mistreated immigrant employees because of their national origin.
Mesa Systems Inc. also agreed to revise its policies, drop an English-only language policy, issue an apology, provide company-wide training and post notices stating that such behavior is unacceptable, according to a court-approved settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC said Monday the national origin employment discrimination settlement is the largest ever reached in Utah.
The EEOC alleged in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Utah in December 2011 that Mesa Systems violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against and subjecting Hispanic employees at its Salt Lake City warehouse to a hostile work environment. It began the investigation in 2007.
The EEOC said a manager and other supervisors engaged in racist name calling and slurs and that the company's English-only language policy, adopted in 2006, had a "disparate impact" on Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders. The EEOC also said that when employees submitted a petition to management objecting to the treatment, the company retaliated by cutting back their work hours or firing them.
Mesa Systems, which is based in Colorado and operates in six states, denied it violated the law.
"Offensive slurs and comments deriding one's national origin violate federal law and are never appropriate in the workplace," said Rayford Irvin, director of the EEOC's Phoenix District, which handled the case. "Employers need to ensure that this behavior is not allowed."