lawsuit, Atlanta, brewery, racism, EEOC

Brewery Fires Black Employee For Whistle-Blowing About Discriminatory Treatment, Has To Pay $115K In Wrongful Termination Settlement

The brewery must pay its former employee for firing him after complaining about discriminatory behavior.

A brewery in Atlanta must pay $115K in a settlement for a wrongful termination lawsuit. The federal case also details racial discrimination and retaliation made by Iron Hill Brewery.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal lawsuit against the restaurant, located in the affluent Atlanta suburb of Buckhead. According to the EEOC, Iron Hill Brewery racially discriminated against and retaliated against a Black employee after he reported discriminatory behavior toward women, Black, and Hispanic employees. In the legal filing, the EEOC stated that Iron Hill Brewery fired Jerrell McGirt after he complained about the discriminatory treatment.

After alerting management of the problem, the company fired the sous chef-in-training, as reported by WSB-TV. The legal documents also claimed that McGirt overheard racial slurs used frequently at the establishment.

“He received an unwarranted disciplinary action and was then fired, the EEOC said. Such alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation for engaging in protected activity and discrimination based on race,” the EEOC said in a release.

Despite attempts to settle out of court, the case proceeded to a trial and subsequent settlement. Now, Iron Hill Brewery must pay McGirt the over $100,000 relief payment. It also will provide a positive employer reference for McGirt as he pursues other opportunities.

“The EEOC brought this lawsuit to defend an employee’s right to speak up about workplace discrimination,” explained Atlanta District Office Regional Attorney Marcus G. Keegan in a statement. “This settlement sends a strong message that the EEOC will continue to vindicate the rights of individuals with the courage to come forward to report discrimination against themselves or others in the workplace.”

Moreover, Iron Hill Brewery must train its employees on a racial discrimination and retaliation ban. For the next three years, it must provide examples of illegal retaliation in the workplace and establish an anti-retaliation policy.

The brewery, a nationwide chain, has yet to comment publicly.

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