Employers should heed racial-harassment suit
Lockheed Martin will pay $2.5 million to a black man to settle a harassment lawsuit.
Settlement of a lawsuit claiming racial harassment of an African-American man on the job at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Hawaii and on the mainland sends a strong message to the world's largest military contractor and other employers. Lockheed denies the allegations, but the $2.5 million settlement award should make the company more diligent in preventing abusive conduct.
Charles Daniels, 45, worked as an avionics electrician for Lockheed at Jacksonville, Fla., Whidbey Island, Wash., and Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station from 2000 to 2001, when he was laid off following the filing of the lawsuit by the federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. He was without a job for a year and now works for another company.
Daniels said the harassment began when an employee in Jacksonville used a racial slur and told him, "We should do to blacks what Hitler did to the Jews." The slurs and threats escalated in Washington and Kaneohe.
Lockheed maintained that the conduct at issue involved a small number of employees in a small unit of the company that had been assigned to the three locations. When Daniels complained to the EEOC, according to the suit, a Lockheed human resources employee told him, "We're Lockheed. We never lose," pointing to a cabinet that he said contained "thousands of complaints just like yours."
Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout said the company investigated the complaint and fired the harassers along with Daniels. "We thought it was in the best interest of Mr. Daniels and everyone involved to move on," he said. The settlement is the largest racial-discrimination award ever won by the EEOC.
Oahu Publications, Inc. publishes
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, MidWeek
and military newspapers
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Black, Dan Case, Dennis Francis,
Larry Johnson, Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke,
Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe, Michael Wo
Editorial Page Editor
(808) 529-4748; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin (USPS 249460) is published daily by Oahu Publications at 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Periodicals postage paid at Honolulu, Hawaii. Postmaster: Send address changes to Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.