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Local business is facing accusation of racial discrimination; Equal Employment panel recently filed civil complaint

by Lynn LaRowe | October 3, 2021 at 3:32 a.m. | Updated October 3, 2021 at 3:33 a.m.

TEXARKANA, Arkansas - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Texarkana, Arkansas, business for alleged racial discrimination.

The government agency filed a civil complaint Tuesday against Texar Line Clearance in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas. Texar Line Clearance did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The complaint alleges that Texar Line Clearance routinely steers Black applicants into lower-paying positions at hire and that Black employees are paid a lower starting wage than non-Black applicants with lesser experience in the same jobs from January 2019 to the present.

Texar Line Clearance's website identifies the company as engaged in right-of-way maintenance projects in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. The company was founded in 2009 by its parent company, Texar Tree and Lumber, according to the company's website.

According to the complaint, the EEOC engaged in communications with Texar to provide the business an opportunity to remedy its allegedly discriminatory practices.

"The Commission was unable to secure from Texar a conciliation agreement acceptable to the commission," the complaint states.

The complaint alleges that Texar placed Black applicants qualified for higher-paying jobs, such as operator, into lower-paying positions such as laborer.

"By steering these Black applicants into a lower-paying position at hire, Texar will continue to pay these employees at a lower rate throughout their employment with Texar than it pays non-Black employees," the complaint states.

The EEOC's complaint describes Texar's allegedly discriminatory hiring practices as intentional and done with malice or reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of Black applicants and employees.

The complaint further alleges that black employees are paid a lower starting wage than non-Black employees.

"The Black applicants were at least equally or more qualified than the non-Black applicants whom Texar hired," the complaint states.

The complaint seeks an injunction enjoining Texar from discriminating against applicants and employees because of their race. The EEOC is asking the court to order Texar to institute and carry out "policies, practices and programs" which "eradicate the effects of its past and present unlawful employment practices." The complaint seeks compensation for black applicants and employees for losses resulting from "emotional pain and suffering, humiliation, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment in life" as well as punitive damages.

The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey. Texar has not yet responded to the EEOC's complaint.

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