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Herzog Roofing nailed with $71,000 fine

A longtime Detroit Lakes roofing company is paying more than $70,000 to settle racial harassment and retaliation charges brought by seven black, Hispanic and American Indian employees, federal authorities announced.

According to a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, supervisors and others working for Herzog Roofing, a second-generation family business in Detroit Lakes for 54 years, subjected the seven employees to racial epithets and jokes that created a hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said Tuesday.

The discrimination continued even after Herzog senior management was alerted, the EEOC added, and the employee who initially complained was fired for stepping forward.

Under terms of the settlement, Herzog will pay $71,500 to the seven employees and provide anti-discrimination training to its workers. The company also will train supervisors and others in management about harassment and retaliation.

Herzog Roofing, which also has a facility in Little Falls, Minn., serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota, specializing in commercial and industrial roofing.

"We are pleased that Herzog worked cooperatively with use to resolve this charge, said Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC's office in Minneapolis. "Herzog now understands that it is not enough for an employer to have an anti-discrimination policy. The employer must enforce the policy and take preventive and corrective action."

Company owner Mike Herzog said he has no comment about the allegations or the terms of the settlement.