EEOC files suit against Sutter Transfer, citing racial harassment

| 10/3/2011

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a racial harassment lawsuit against Sutter Transfer Service of Yuba City, CA.

In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that Sutter Transfer violated federal law by allowing a supervisor to harass employees with racial epithets, including racial slurs directed toward the company’s only black driver, Lonnie Winstead. 

According to the EEOC release, the commission first attempted to reach a voluntary settlement, but later filed suit in the Sacramento Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

“Sutter Transfer Service was put on notice for a supervisor’s racial harassment but failed to take it seriously,” EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo stated in the release. “Employers are liable for the actions of their supervisors, and are required by law to take prompt and appropriate action to end workplace discrimination.”

According to the lawsuit, a Sutter dispatcher subjected Winstead and other minority employees to “racially charged” comments. The EEOC complaint alleges the dispatcher’s behavior was allowed to continue even after complaints were filed with the manager and company owner.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for Winstead and other drivers, as well as management training on anti-discrimination laws.