Department of Justice Obtains Settlement in Racial Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit Against SEPTA | Takeover bid

The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), a regional public transportation authority based in Philadelphia. The settlement resolves the department’s complaint alleging that three SEPTA Police Department officers were subjected to a hostile work environment by their supervisor and suffered retaliation when they objected to harassment, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) . Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion, and prohibits retaliation against employees who oppose unfair labor practices. discriminatory employment under Title VII.

“All Transit Police officers deserve to go to work every day without fear of harassment and retaliation from their supervisors and co-workers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Civil Rights Division. Justice. “This settlement sends a clear message that the department is prepared to protect employees who experience racial harassment and a hostile work environment, especially in law enforcement dedicated to serving the public.”

The department’s complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges that SEPTA subjected the officers, who were part of a special investigation unit, to racial and religious harassment and exercised retaliation against them for opposing the harassment. According to the complaint, the officers’ supervisor repeatedly harassed them with racial slurs and derogatory comments about black people and Muslims, threatened the officers and physically assaulted them. The complaint further alleges that the police chief retaliated against the officers for opposing the harassment. The Officer Supervisor and Chief of Police are no longer employed by SEPTA. According to the complaint, although two of the officers are white, they are also protected by Title VII because they were also injured by the harassment, were not mere bystanders, and suffered retaliation for speaking out about the harassment. Under the consent decree, if approved by the court, SEPTA will implement anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies and provide training to its employees. SEPTA will also pay the officers a total of $496,000 in compensatory damages.

The U.S. complaint is based on charges of discrimination filed with the Philadelphia District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigated the charges and found reasonable cause that SEPTA has violated Title VII. After unsuccessful conciliation efforts, the EEOC referred the charges to the Department of Justice.

Full and fair enforcement of Title VII is a top priority of the Department of Justice’s Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division and the jurisdiction of the Employment Litigation Section is available on its websites at www.justice.gov/crt and www.justice.gov/crt/employment- litigation-section.

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