WASHINGTON- The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a consent decree with the township of Green Brook, N.J., that, if approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, will resolve the department’s lawsuit against Green Brook alleging racial discrimination in employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion, and prohibits retaliation against employees for opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe are discriminatory under Title VII, or for filing a complaint of employment discrimination.
The department’s complaint, filed today along with the consent decree, alleges that the township discriminated against Anthony Rivera, an African-American road worker in Green Brook’s Department of Public Works. According to the complaint, Rivera was regularly subjected to racial harassment in the workplace by his supervisor, including racially offensive slurs, jokes and remarks, from 2006 through 2009. The complaint further alleges the township unlawfully retaliated against Rivera after he complained to Green Brook management in October 2007 about his supervisor’s racial harassment.
Under the terms of the decree, the township must pay Rivera $35,000 in compensatory damages. The decree prohibits the township from discriminating against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, and from engaging in unlawful retaliation. The decree also requires that Green Brook provide training on its anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to all of its employees and managers.
"Our nation’s laws ensure that every individual has the right to work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The department commends Green Brook for working cooperatively with us to resolve this matter without the need for contested litigation."
The department’s lawsuit was based on a charge of discrimination filed by Rivera with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The enforcement of Title VII is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its websites at www.justice.gov/crt/ and www.justice.gov/crt/emp/.