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Wieland settles sex, race discrimination lawsuit

Atlanta homebuilder John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods has agreed to a settle a race and sex discrimination lawsuit filed by federal authorities in June 2009.

Under the settlement, Wieland will pay $378,000 to six claimants and hire at least 10 African-Americans and women into management positions over the next six years, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC suit claimed that WIeland “unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against black sales agents by intentionally assigning them to housing communities based on the race of the surrounding community.”

The result was that the black agents earned less than white agents who were assigned to housing communities where they sold higher-priced homes, according to the EEOC. The settlement provides monetary relief to five African-American sales agents and a white human resources representative.

The suit also resolves charges that the company failed to hire and promote African-Americans and women into management positions, according to the EEOC.

In the consent decree, Wieland has agreed to exercise good faith in hiring qualified blacks and women “at or reasonably near (their) qualified applicant rates” for management positions, the EEOC stated.

Wieland must also implement nondiscriminatory hiring measures including targeted recruitment and advertising, and training for positive EEO management practices.  The company has also pledged to continue to supply diversity training to its executive and management personnel who participate in the recruiting and hiring process.  The decree also provides for reporting and record keeping. 

Wieland has been responsible for a number of communities in Fayette County.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

What nonsense. 10 years and millions of dollars spent by the feds to get a "consent decree" and $330k? What a waste of time, money and effort. They were really gunning to prosecute a big name, but never got to first base and had to settle for a consent decree. And on top of it, they give him a hiring quota to hire 10 "African-American or women". What happens if a Hispanic or (God forbid) a white person is more qualified for those jobs. Can they sue for discrimination? Who do they sue? What nonsense.

The crux of this is that Wieland (not unreasonably) thought that if he was building in what was clearly a black area that the customers were going to be black and therefore they would be more comfortable dealing with black sales agents. On one level, that makes perfect sense. On the other hand, it against federal law. The feds would prefer that the customers of any color not be told anything about the racial make-up of the surrounding community and be left with the responsibility of finding out on their own.

That leads to the obvious question from customers - What kind of neighborhood is this? Answering that question is a violation of federal law. So potential customers either check out the neighborhood or they don't. Some do a better job than others. Some don't notice racial dominance, some don't notice an airport or an industrial park, but I digress.

So how does the existing federal law actually help the situation? Do these laws prevent discrimination or do they just intimidate people into not answering reasonable questions about the racial makeup of the community? After all, anyone can figure that out for themselves by just parking outside a school at opening or closing time and watching the kids come and go.

I'm not condoning racial discrimination here - far from it. I am simply asking how do our federal discrimination laws help. They don't seem very well thought out, do they?

And what is the EEOC all about? Doesn't one of those E's stand for "equal"? What is equal about this situation?

Live free or die!

individuals clamoring to get into the real estate business at this time, regardless of their 'color or gender'. As you correctly stated, the buyer has the responsibility to do 'research' on the value of the property and the neighborhood. Our experience with Wieland was for the most part very positive. He was recommended as the #1 developer in the Atlanta area for the quality of his homes, etc. With the exception of the Cascades, his homes that we visited were all in integrated developments. His advertisements indicated integrated neighborhoods. The personnel at his design center appeared to be integrated. Individuals, following an illegal practice, made statements that were against federal law. Minorities have lived in Wieland neighborhoods in Atlanta for more than 20 years. (Note Fayetteville off of New Hope Road) Federal law helped to correct an unacceptable practice.

highflyer2's picture

What would we stupid ole southerners do without the Federal government!

many are finding the 'new' south to be far ahead of the rest of the country in civility and race-relations. Don't ever call a 'southerner' stupid - southerners come in all colors!

highflyer2's picture

My son (who spent 15 months in Iraq) has been looking for a job for over a year! Sad to say, but he is white but that shouldn’t hold him back!
Tell you what EEOC, I’m going to look your number up and I pray that you help my son out also!
Let’s all hope that we see the day when people (black and white) are promoted by their job performances and their hard work, and that business owners can run THEIR OWN BUSINESSES the way THEY SEE FIT without some dime store organization telling them what they CAN and CAN’T do!

<cite>Sad to say, but he is white but that shouldn’t hold him back!</cite>

I agree with you regarding the basis of getting a job/promotion based on job performance, skill, and hard work. However, we in this country have a sad history of not doing that - and we're still suffering from past practices - regardless of what color we are. I don't think we have the caliber of ethical leadership to allow business to run their own business as they see fit - note the ethics of our banking industry and 'ethical' corporations. Maybe some day - but we're not ready yet. Saying that - I don't believe John Weiland himself acknowledged 'racist' practices or condoned them - but those who believe 'that's just the way it is' still work for ethical 'bosses' - and the buck stops with the 'boss'. I don't think calling the EEOC will be a waste of your time - many in 'right to work' states still go by 'who you know' rather than ethical basis for hiring - regardless of color.

highflyer2's picture

I grew up in the 60’s when all the turbulent times were happening, and for the past 50 years we have been “reminded” how ALFULL our forefathers had been. I didn’t EVEN KNOW my forefathers and I have still had to apologize for their actions! There have been things that have happened to me in MY past that were wrong and I will carry them to my grave with me but I REFUSE to let what happen to MY forefathers be used as a crutch for MY well being!
The only thing I am saying is that if “I” invest “my” money and hard labor to start “my” own company (without any government help) I will shut “my” doors before I have “any” outside force tell me what “I” should or shouldn’t do!
My God people! Isn’t this what America was built on?

I hear you highflyer2 - but I'm not about to let anyone shut the door on my children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren because of their race, sexual orientation, or gender. That's the law. . .and my forefathers and my generation have paid a high price for that right. So there we are. If you follow the law, there is no problem. If you refuse to follow the law - your doors will just have to 'shut'. We're a country of laws - for everyone - not just for 'some'. I know my forefathers who suffered during the 50's and 60's and way before, just as I suffered. We (my family) built businesses without government help that are still profitable today - even with being told that we had to hire those who don't look like us. We're not asking for an apology - just equal application of the law. We haven't stood all these years using a 'crutch'! Shutting doors based on 'color', gender, etc. ain't going to happen again. America was built on some pretty shifting sand - and the foundation has been solidified. We must 'stand' together on the foundation of 'law' - or we'll crumble. We followed the law since 'equal hiring' became the law - and survived. You can too.

highflyer2's picture

All you have to do Dorothy (aka David's Mom), is click your heals three times and repeat after me....."we will not crumble, we will not crumble, we will not crumble". We will never see it, our children will never see it and their children will never see it! It just won't happen! People (both white and all other colors) will complain about how they are (and were) treated for EVER. It's what we do.

view of the world. Fortunately, I've lived through change. I've seen people and governments change. The very fact of my living peaceably in Fayette County without fear - and confidence in law-enforcement is validation to me, that times have changed. I'm not Dorothy - but a real life human being who has witnessed history and enjoys the present and looks forward to the future. Your 'way' is acceptable to you - I'm not complaining about the 'present' - I just refuse to see our country move towards the mistakes of the past. . .and will continue to follow the advice of my 'forefathers' - remain vigilant, learn from history, and protect the future from the mistakes of the past.

My grandson also spent time in Iraq. I sincerely hope your son finds a job soon! Any/all Americans who serve should receive priority in the job market. Don't overlook the services of the EEOC - they should be held accountable for making sure that all Americans receive equal treatment. Some business owner has elected not to hire your son - find out why!!!

highflyer2's picture

Just maybe he's like his Dad. Talks from the heart and not what the owner wants to hear (or has been told by the goverment what he needs to hear). But really, when's it all over with........WHO REALLY CARES ?

I understand, I think. Individualism is a great part of our heritage. I care because I feel very strongly that those who put their lives at risk at a young age in foreign countries are not being treated fairly. (And I don't care about their color or gender) There appears to be more concern now for the families of our service people - but I still hear horror stories. To hear that a young person who has spent months in Iraq cannot find a job is a great concern. Talking from the heart is good for conversation - for it puts an honest 'tint' to the conversation. Have a good day.

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