The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against a moving and storage firm for discriminating against employees based on their national origin.

Mesa Systems, Inc, which is based in Grand Junction, Colorado, allowed management at its Salt Lake City warehouse facility to discriminate against Mexican immigrants, according to the EEOC.

The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Utah, accuses Mesa of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hispanic workers at the Salt Lake City warehouse were subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment that included ethnic slurs, the EEOC said.

Mesa also instituted a restrictive workplace language policy "that had disparate impact against Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders," the federal agency said.

Employees who complained about management abuses suffered retaliation in the form of reductions in hours or outright dismissal, according to the suit.

The EEOC wants to see the fired employees reinstated and receive back pay and damages. The agency is likewise asking the court to require Mesa to implement programs and policies to avert future violations of Title VII.

"Offensive slurs and comments deriding one's national origin violate Title VII and are never appropriate in the workplace; such conduct is the very definition of a hostile work environment," Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, said in a statement.

Mesa System has had no public response to the filing of the lawsuit, which followed the EEOC's attempt to settle the matter through a conciliation process. 

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