Posted On: March 29, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Wheeler Construction Settles EEOC Lawsuit Based on Retaliation and National Origin For $325,000

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC)' settled its lawsuit with Wheeler Construction, Inc., a Phoenix-based construction company for $325,000 and other relief on behalf of Mexican workers. The lawsuit was based on discrimination because of national origin, harassment and retaliation.

The EEOC’s complaint alleged that employees Leonard Lopez and Juan Campos were subjected to harassment based on their national origin (Mexican) and retaliation for complaining about it. The harassment included comments by a supervisor referring to employees as “wetbacks” and “s--cs” and telling Latino employees to “go back to Mexico.” Lopez was born and raised in Glendale, Ariz., and had 20 years of service with Wheeler Construction at the time of the harassment. When Lopez complained to management about the harassment he was fired.

Campos also attempted to complain about the harassment and Wheeler failed to take any action to address it. After an EEOC investigation, the agency found that two additional employees alerted management of the discrimination and no action was taken.

Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the Phoenix District Office, said, “The fact that these employees work at a construction site is no excuse for the ethnic slurs that were used against Mr. Lopez and Mr. Campos.

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