By Beth Hillyer
HONOLULU (KHNL)--There is a landmark settlement of a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Lockheed Martin, the largest military contractor in the U.S.
The $2.5 million award makes it the largest individual EEOC and Hawaii settlement in a racial discrimination case.
The 45-year-old victim in this case worked at Kaneohe Marine Corp Base for Lockheed Martin. His attorneys say everyone can learn from this incident. The most important thing, if you are experiencing discrimination, you need to document it.
A Hawaii based contractor named Charles Daniels worked on these P-3 aircraft at Kaneohe Bay until the situation got so bad he went to the EEOC for help.
"He had been subjected to a year of ongoing harrassment including being called the n-word and other racial slurs constantly and it was accompanied by threats to his life and just daily harrassment, hard for him to endure," said EEOC regional attorney William Tamayo.
"Behavior that includes calling someone the n-word, saying that we should do to blacks what Hitler did to the Jews and threatening him with lynching," explained Senior Trial Attorney Raymond Cheung.
Charles Daniels tried to resolve this internally.
"Lockheed is telling me, 'if you file this complaint we are going to blackball you, you will never work in this industry again,' said Daniels. "I'm laid off out of work for a year, devastating financial effect. Lockheed Martin basically told me we are Lockheed Martin we never lose."
"It takes an act of courage to say to the nation's largest military contractor in the world that I have rights as a human being and this is what Charles Daniels did," said Cheung.
After six years of investigations and litigation, Lockheed must pay Daniels $2.5 million.
"Lockheed Martin has agreed to fire a supervisor and bar from hiring employees who harassed Mr. Daniels, " added Cheung.
"Our Civil Rights Laws mean something because of the courage of people like Charles Daniels who will stand up and say you cannot treat me this way you can't do that here in Hawaii and you can't do that anywhere else," said Hawaii Attorney Carl Varady.
Lockheed issued this statement:
"The EEOC's characterization of the facts is false and we regret that the EEOC, for whatever reason, has chosen to distort the factual record in this matter. We chose to settle the allegations from six and seven years ago to enable all parties to move on. The conduct in question involved a small number of first-line employees in a small, single operating unit of the company. When management became aware of the allegations, it conducted investigations and took the appropriate remedial actions based on the facts presented at that time. At no time was the operating unit aware of or did it ignore any unlawful conduct. All individuals involved in this matter have either left the company or are being terminated. Additionally, as a result of this settlement, we've barred the individuals allegedly involved in this matter from future work with the company.