New York Racial Discrimination Case Ends with $1 Million Award for Plaintiffs

A three-year battle over New York racial discrimination has finally come to a close, as a US District Court Judge awarded current and former African-American employees of Elmer W. Davis Inc., (a Rochester, NY based roofing company) $1 million pursuant to charges that African-American employees had been singled out for mistreatment over many years.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit back in 2007 after Samuel Crenshaw, a former roofer, came forward with allegations that Elmer Davis employees had made threats against him and called him racial slurs. Other African-American employees also complained about mistreatment. Dilanjan Jackson, another ex-employee, was quoted saying: “I was called a Hebrew, the N-word, and a drug dealer.” When Jackson reported these problems to supervisor, the manager “laughed at my face and I was laid off.” Another employee, Phil Byford, alleged that his supervisor had sprayed him with tar.

Elmer W. Davis Inc. is the biggest New York roofing contractor with revenues approaching $30 million annually. In response to the verdict, the company maintained that the allegations of racial discrimination were untrue. CEO Jeff Davis said that the firm capitulated to the EEOC settlement because “we simply do not have the unlimited resources and deep pockets that the federal government has to continue litigating.”

In addition to having to pay out $1 million to African-American employees, Davis Inc. has agreed to (per the AP) “use seniority as the basis for layoffs and employees recalls, to make a good faith effort to hire qualified African-American for foremen and supervisory positions, and to provide anti-discrimination training to employees.”

Overcoming racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation can be challenging, even if you know that wrongdoing has been perpetrated against you and/or your coworkers. Fortunately, there are great resources available to help you fight back. For a free and confidential consultation about your potential New York workplace discrimination case, get in touch with attorneys at Joseph & Kirschenbaum by dialing (212) 688-5640 or emailing the firm through its official website,

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