EEOC: Black workers got more radiation

Jan. 16, 2010 at 10:33 PM
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MEMPHIS, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A Tennessee company that processes nuclear waste has agreed to settle federal claims black employees were subjected to higher levels of radiation than others.

The Studsvik Memphis Processing Facility, formerly known as Radiological Assistance Consulting and Engineering, or RACE, has signed a consent agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. Under the agreement, 23 black employees are to receive a total of $650,000.

The EEOC alleged the company assigned black employees to work with radioactive waste and manipulated dosimeters to show lower levels of radiation than the actual ones. Black employees were also paid less and subjected to other kinds of discrimination.

"I've been here (with the EEOC) 30 years, and I've never heard allegations of race discrimination that I consider this serious -- because of the health risk," said Carson Owen, an EEOC trial lawyer.

Lewis Johnson, president of Studsvik, said the alleged discrimination took place before the Swedish-based company bought the Memphis facility.

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