The LAS–ELC’s Racial Equality Program seeks racial justice and expanded employment opportunities for people of color through the enforcement of civil rights laws. Our program provides legal assistance to individuals and groups of employees who encounter barriers to employment, problems at work, or discriminatory hiring or employment practices because of their race.
Thompson v. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Inc.
In 2001, the LAS–ELC, with local co-counsel, filed a class-action lawsuit against Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Inc. (formerly Ingalls Shipbuilding Company), the largest private employer in the State of Mississippi, The suit was filed on behalf of African-American employees who alleged race discrimination, retaliation and a racially hostile work environment.
The parties have reached an agreement that resolves the race discrimination claims of 64 employees at the NGSS shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. As part of the agreement, NGSS amended a number of its existing personnel policies, practices, and training programs to enhance include equal opportunities for all employees in promotions and other advancement opportunities. NGSS is also enhancing its anti-harassment and training programs to communicate and reinforce its policy against unlawful racial harassment. The terms of the agreement require NGSS to revise its policies to clearly explain to employees what constitutes prohibited race discrimination and racial harassment and to provide a clear and accessible reporting and investigation procedure for incidents of racial harassment. Additionally, NGSS will also regularly provide information and mandatory comprehensive training to all employees about regarding company policies and will communicate to its employees its commitment to diversity and fairness in the workplace.
The agreement further provided that the employees submit their individual claims for monetary damages to binding arbitration. Those arbitrations were held in the federal courthouse in Gulfport, Mississippi over the last two years and will be completed by the end of 2009. A small number of cases are still pending in the Southern District of Mississippi and LAS–ELC attorneys will resume their prosecution once the arbitrations are completed.