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Maricopa NAACP Says APS Discriminates
The Maricopa County Branch NAACP charged in a recently released statement that Arizona Public Service has allowed African American and Hispanic employees to be subjected to racial harassment of a continuous nature severe enough to constitute a hostile work environment.
NAACP officials said employees have complained about the derogatory remarks made by white co-workers, but nothing was done by APS to stop the behavior.
According to the NAACP, papers titled �Application for Minority Employment� and derogatory jokes about �20,000 Niggers in Heaven� have been circulated in the APS�s workplace. Referring to African Americans, the application said "it is not necessary to attach a photo since you all look alike." With respect to Hispanics, it said �list date and time illegally entered the United States.�
Also, the NAACP said APS has allowed its attorney to engage in witnesses tampering in a lawsuit, Ramirez v. Arizona Public Service Company, that is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In this case, former APS employee Paul Lance Ramirez issuing APS charging discrimination.
In another lawsuit, Daniel Fowler, also a former APS employee, is suing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #387, which represents employees working for APS. Fowler was a union steward when he was discharged by APS on February 22, 2006, after nearly twelve years.
APS was aware, said the NAACP, that Fowler was going to provide testimony in Paul Ramirez's lawsuit. Additionally, he had provided testimony for Paul Torres in another lawsuit against the company.
According to the NAACP, Carl Moore, a union steward, who is also an APS employee, told Fowler "don't poke the dog too much or he'll turn and bite you, let sleeping dogs lie, don't bite the hand that feeds you, loose lips sink ships, and your job is the sinking ship." The NAACP said Moore was reminding Fowler, that if he provided testimony to support Ramirez and Torres in their lawsuits, it might cost him his job.
Fowler has charged APS with discrimination and is currently waiting for EEOC to complete its investigation. The NAACP said Naomi Skinner, another former APS employee also is suing APS.
The NAACP said that every individual has a fundamental right to secure a job, which they are qualified without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Pervasive racial discriminationin employment functions is a barrier that prohibits an entire racial group from making social and political progress.
Historically, said the NAACP, it has viewed cases of employment discrimination as matters of the highest priority, deserving of full support by all local offices. Hence, every local office must be prepared to assist potential complainants in challenging those government and private employers who engage in discrimination.
The NAACP claimed most employers know that Title VII not only prevents them from discriminating against employees, but it also prohibits retaliation against employees, who opposed unlawful discriminatory employment practices by filing complaints or participate in lawsuits, charge proceedings, or other efforts to police discrimination.
The NAACP reported in their statement that Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, the owner of APS stated in its 2004 Corporate Responsibility Report On Social Performance the following: "In 2004, the company had no arbitration with union employees. The company's relationship with its performance review employees is valued highly as well. In 2004, the company faced 14 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges. Of those, 13 were dismissed. Pinnacle West and APS enjoy a positive relationship with the EEOC.
In fact, 2004 Pinnacle West President Jack Davis participated in a CEO roundtable with EEOC Chair Carrie Dominguez designed to open communications between Arizona corporations and regulators. "The NAACP said the report a smoke screen. �The report has a chilling effect on the willingness of employees to come forward with information that may be of critical importance to the commission as it seeks to advance the public interest in the elimination of unlawful employment practices.
APS has a positive relationship with the EEOC because the agency is doing nothing to eliminate discrimination at the company.� According to the NAACP, African American and Hispanic employees are continuously subjected to racial harassment. �Hispanic employees have been called �F.... Mexicans, Wetbacks, and Spicks.� Disparate treatment has been discovered involving disciplinary and discharge issues, promotions, job assignments, flag pay, and training.�
The NAACP said it observed from November 14, 1997 to the present that Pinnacle West and APS have enjoyed a positive relationship with the EEOC�s Phoenix District Office. �EEOC investigators failed to conduct a �full investigation� of charges of discrimination,� the NAACP statement said.
�Pre-Determination Interviews (PDIs) were not held with charging parties before their cases were dismissed. Witnesses who had knowledge of the incidents surrounding the allegations contained in charges of discrimination were not conducted or interviewed. �In today society, both employers and employees are far more aware of every employee's right to work in a discrimination-free environment and to complete for jobs on a level playing field. Society as a whole has not lowered its threshold for intolerance.
The EEOC�s mission is to eliminate discrimination in the workplace and expand opportunities for all our citizens. As the country embarks on the 21st century, minorities and women now account for nearly half of the nation's workforce.�