Federal Agency Charges That Furniture Retailer Affordable Home Furnishings Subjected African American Manager to a Hostile Work Environment and Fired Him When He Complained
NEW ORLEANS, LA (STL.News) Affordable Rent-to-Own, LLC, doing business as Affordable Home Furnishings, a furniture retailer and lessor based in Louisiana, has agreed to pay a former employee $105,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a white account manager at Affordable Home Furnishings’ Florida Boulevard store in Baton Rouge repeatedly used the word “n****r” while working with an African American manager-in-training. Soon after the manager-in-training reported the slurs to other managers, the company fired him, the EEOC says.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination and retaliation for complaining of discrimination. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Affordable Rent-to-Own, LLC d/b/a Affordable Home Furnishings, Civil Action No. 3:22-cv-00676) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. Under the three-year consent decree settling the suit, approved today, Affordable Home Furnishings will pay the former employee $105,000 in back pay and damages, and also conduct training, revise policies, set up a complaint hotline, provide regular reports to the EEOC, and post a notice affirming its obligations under Title VII.
“This resolution provides appropriate relief for the former employee and sends the message that racial harassment has no place in America,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office.
Peter Theis, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, said, “The use of racial slurs in the workplace is unacceptable and unlawful, and firing someone for complaining about their use only compounds the offense.”
The EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office is part of the Houston District Office, which covers Louisiana and parts of Texas.