EEOC v. Signal International, LLC

Case Number: 
12-557
Court where filed: 
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Date Filed: 
05/06/2011
Plaintiffs: 
The United State Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Defendants: 
Signal International, LLC

Three years after the SPLC filed its lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against Signal, accusing the company of discriminating against the Indian guest workers in the David case filed by the SPLC and its co-counsel. The EEOC’s lawsuit also alleges that Signal retaliated against the workers – firing them, detaining them and attempting to deport them – when they tried to oppose the company’s discriminatory practices.

The EEOC lawsuit is part of an effort targeting extreme labor abuse. The court allowed the guest workers represented by the SPLC to join the EEOC’s case as plaintiff-intervenors, providing these workers with a voice in the EEOC case and another opportunity for justice. The EEOC lawsuit is also significant because the government sought to hold Signal, rather than labor recruiters or other “middlemen,” responsible for the abuses.

The lawsuit charges that Signal discriminated against the Indian workers by requiring them to pay astronomical rent to live in substandard, crowded housing that non-Indian workers did not have to occupy, and created and perpetuated a hostile work environment against the Indian employees based on their race or national origin.

Co-Counsel: 

Crowell & Moring, American Civil Liberties Union, Sahn Ward & Baker, and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund