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New York fish market M. Slavin settles employment discrimination suit


NEW YORK—M. Slavin & Sons Ltd. has agreed to pay $900,000 to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit alleging that the fish market created a hostile work environment for more than 30 black and African male loaders and drivers.

Brought by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2009, the suit alleged physical and verbal sexual harassment, offensive comments based on race and national origin, and retaliation against those who took part in the case.

The agency alleged that from 1984 on, owners and managers of the New York-based wholesale and retail fish market physically groped the workers, made explicit sexual comments and used offensive racial terms. “Many of the men worked for M. Slavin for 10 to 20 years and endured this treatment because they desperately needed the work,” the EEOC said a statement.

In addition to paying the $900,000 settlement, M. Slavin must revamp how it addresses discriminatory harassment and retaliation and submit to five years of EEOC monitoring, the agency said Friday.

The EEOC will “closely monitor M. Slavin to ensure an end to the racial and sexual harassment of workers at this company,” Elizabeth Grossman, regional attorney in the EEOC’s New York district office, said in the statement.

Earlier this week, CoMetrics Partners L.L.C., a New York-based turnaround firm, said the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District in New York entered an order on Nov. 30 confirming a reorganization plan for M. Slavin, which had filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

A company spokeswoman referred a request for comment to the company’s attorney, who could not be reached.

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