Thursday, March 19, 2009

Supervisor to US worker: "Go back to Mexico"

Wheeler Construction, Inc will pay $325,000 and other relief to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of Mexican workers who worked for the Phoenix-based construction company.

The company subjected workers to harassment based on their national origin (Mexican) and retaliation for complaining about it, according to the US EEOC.

A supervisor referred to employees as “wetbacks” and “s--cs” and told Latino employees to “go back to Mexico.”

One of the workers was born and raised in Glendale, Ariz., and had 20 years of service with Wheeler Construction at the time of the harassment. When he complained to management about the harassment he was fired.

“The fact that these employees work at a construction site is no excuse for the ethnic slurs that were used against [them]," said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Phoenix District Office.

"We are especially concerned that the outrageous comments were made by a supervisor. Instead of stopping this behavior, the company failed to act appropriately and compounded its culpability by retaliating against its employees,” she added.

Slurs and retaliation at the workplace are unacceptable.
Colorado lawyer Kimberlie Ryan and The Ryan Law Firm specialize in discrimination law and handle similar national origin discrimination cases on behalf of Colorado workers. You can reach Kim Ryan at

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