Instead, the complaint alleged the employees "were unlawfully terminated in retaliation for their complaints," said Mary Jo O'Neill, EEOC regional attorney in Phoenix.
Ruth Shapiro, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Holmes & Holmes, said the company will defend itself aggressively against the charge.
"When the jury hears this case, I am confident Holmes & Holmes will be vindicated," she added, noting that it would be inappropriate to comment on details while the case is being adjudicated.
The litigation said the Bratcher brothers notified Holmes & Holmes of the racial harassment incidents 30 days before the lawsuit was filed, in writing and verbally, but company supervisors did nothing. The brothers then were fired "with malice and/or reckless indifference to their federally protected rights.
O'Neill said the EEOC is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the two men and other blacks who were discriminated against by the company and a court order requiring Holmes & Holmes to "institute and implement policies to eradicate and prevent future episodes of racial discrimination."
Added EEOC trial attorney Richard Sexton, "In this 21st-century work force, no one should have to endure this type of behavior in order to make a living."
Holmes & Holmes has been in business for more than 25 years, its website said. The company installs and maintains residential and commercial heating and air-conditioning systems, repairs boilers and chillers, and services restaurant refrigeration systems. Its work is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Star, a U.S. Department of Energy program to help businesses and individuals improve energy efficiency.
The company operates in Salt Lake, Davis, Morgan, Summit, Utah, Wasatch, Weber and Tooele counties.