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EEOC Settles With Who Employer Wanted Employee to Say It Did a Good Job

Kenneth Echols worked for fracking company Downhole Technology. Mr. Echols reported that his co-workers had used a white hood (reminiscent of the Klu Klux Klan) to “intimidate, ridicule, and insult him.” Mr. Eckhols, who was African-American, felt that this conduct was racial harassment and complained to Human Resources.

Downhole responded that the co-workers’ conduct was joke. They asked Mr. Echols to sign a declaration that said Downhole had adequately responded to his complaint about the conduct. When Mr. Echols refused, he was fired. He had no record of any performance issues during his employment at the company.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on Mr. Echols’ behalf claiming race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII. The parties reached a settlement that will give Mr. Echols $120,000 in monetary damages. Downhole also signed a two-year consent decree, obligating it to train its employees on Title VII’s requirements as well as educate them about “hate groups, their symbols and the harm they cause to others.” The company must also create a toll-free number through which the employees will have an avenue to report discrimination and harassment.