The United States Department of Justice has reached a settlement in a lawsuit that accused the Reading Parking Authority of discriminating against Hispanic employees.

Under the terms of the agreement, the parking authority will pay a total of $65,000 to five individuals harmed by the discrimination and harassment, plus $12,500 for their legal fees, according to a statement on the DOJ's website.

The DOJ had claimed in a lawsuit filed on June 27 that Hispanic parking authority employees were subjected to pervasive ethnic slurs, offensive comments and threats of physical harm beginning in 2007 and continuing for several years.

"No one should have to endure harassment due to their national origin or retaliation for speaking out against such discrimination," said Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. "This lawsuit sends a clear message that the department will vigorously protect the rights of those in the public sector facing discrimination."

The parking authority also agreed to institute new policies and training to ensure that its employees are not subjected to discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

"The department commends the RPA for working to put in place new policies and procedures to protect its employees from discrimination, harassment and retaliation," Samuels said.