Choctaw Transportation Company Settles EEOC Racial Discrimination Suit for $75,000

Company Refused to Hire Blacks as Deckhands, Federal Agency Charged

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Choctaw Transportation Company, Inc., a marine construction and transportation company located in Dyersburg, Tenn., will pay $75,000 to an African-American job applicant to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that the company violated federal law by refusing to hire a black job applicant for a deckhand position because of his race. The EEOC charged that Choctaw has for decades segregated its work force and has refused to hire blacks in deckhand positions. The EEOC further charged that Choctaw violated the record-keeping provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it failed to properly maintain medical and personnel records.

Race discrimination in hiring violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, No. 1:10-cv-01248-JDB-egb, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, after first attempting to settle the matter through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins Choctaw Transportation from further discriminating against blacks in hiring and requires it to use its best efforts to fill up to 25% of available positions with African-Americans. The consent decree further provides for training both on and off its vessels on employee rights under Title VII, and requires Choctaw Transportation to maintain records of discrimination complaints, provide annual reports to the EEOC, and post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC’s contact information.

“Employees should not be subjected to racial discrimination in hiring, as it is a violation of federal law,” said Faye Williams, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “The EEOC will continue to ensure that such barriers to employment are removed.”

According to company information, Choctaw Transportation operates a marine construction and transportation company that works, in part, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the marine/barge industry.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov..

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