Contested Case Decision


Edward D. Tillman, Complainant, and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission vs. Monfort of Colorado, Inc., Con Agra, and Bret Goken, Respondents.


Tillman, a Black male, alleges that all Respondents are liable for a racially hostile work environment which was inflicted on him by Goken and other co-workers. He also alleges that he was discriminatorily discharged by Monfort and Con Agra.


The complaint alleges that during an altercation at lunch with co-worker Goken, he was called "nigger" by Goken. Tillman reacted by slamming Goken into a table. While both of them were discharged for this incident, Goken was subsequently reinstated, while Tillman was not. Tillman alleges this constitutes racial discrimination by Monfort and Con Agra in his discharge. The question of racial harassment of Tillman by Goken was also addressed at hearing.


According to the administrative law judge, the Commission established its case of harassment against Goken with evidence that Tillman was subjected to unwelcome harassment based on his race. The Commission did not prove, however, the allegation of harassment by Monfort because they failed to prove that the employer knew or should have known of the harassment.


The Commission also failed to prove that Complainant Tillman was subjected to racially discriminatory treatment in his discharge as the evidence indicates he was not treated differently than non-Black employees who were also discharged for fighting.


The judge proposed remedies of $8,500 for emotional distress damages resulting from racial harassment by Respondent Goken.


The Commissioners voted on December 13, 1996, to accept the proposed decision as a final agency decision. Tillman has filed an appeal in district court on the part of the decision regarding Monfort.