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EEOC sues Buffalo employer for racial harassment

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Posted at 9:17 AM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 09:26:08-04

A federal agency is suing a Buffalo metal coating company, claiming the employer allowed a race-based hostile work environment for black employees.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit against Frontier Hot-Dip Galvanizing, Inc. on Friday.

The complaint states the company was aware of some employees regularly using racist slurs against black employees, as well as the use of racist graffiti in common areas.

The EEOC also says Frontier Hot-Dip failed to stop the harassment and instead threatened complaining employees with termination.

"This lawsuit sends a clear message that Title VII's prohibition against racial harassment in the workplace will be vigorously enforced by EEOC," said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for EEOC's New York District Office. "No one should have to face this kind of horrific harassment."

Robert V. Pierce, the Executive Vice President of AGA Certified Master Galvanizer released this statement regarding the lawsuit.

"It is the company’s policy not to substantively or factually comment on matters in litigation.  We will state, however, because it needs to be said, that the EEOC, throughout the entire investigation process, was predisposed to this result, displayed extreme hostility towards our company, behaved unprofessionally and exhibited disinterest in the actual facts. 

"The real story here, is government overreaching and investigator bias. We invite the news to investigate the EEOC and its practices.  According to recent U.S. Senate report, titled “EEOC: An Agency on the Wrong Track? Litigation Failures, Misfocused Priorities, and Lack of Transparency Raise Concerns about Important Anti-Discrimination Agency,” the EEOC is taking on questionable cases, sometimes through overly aggressive tactics.

"The report, issued by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, found that the EEOC “has suffered significant court losses that are embarrassing to the agency and costly to taxpayers.”  According to the report, “Courts have found EEOC’s litigation tactics to be so egregious they have ordered EEOC to pay defendants’ attorney’s fees in 10 cases since 2011. The courts have criticized EEOC for misuse of its authority, poor expert analysis, and pursuit of novel cases unsupported by law.” 

"Our own unpleasant experience rests squarely in this stunning criticism of this governmental agency by our own elected officials. We categorically deny the allegations being made by the EEOC and we will be mounting a vigorous defense. 

"We have a long and honorable history here in this community and an excellent reputation which we will proudly defend.  We have provided jobs, treated all of our employees with fairness and respect at all times and have served the needs of our customers faithfully. We look forward to defending this rubbish."