Blog

Baird Tree Will Settle EEOC Race and Wage Discrimination Lawsuit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on November 28th, 2013

Baird Tree Company Agrees to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Baird Tree Company, Inc., a tree-trimming service company based in Jacksboro, Tenn., and operating in eastern and middle Tennessee, has agreed to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of 19 Hispanic former employees.

According to an EEOC suit filed on behalf of 19 Hispanic employees, Baird Tree Company, Inc., a tree-trimming service based and operating in Tennessee, has violated federal law by maintaining a policy and practice of failing to pay Hispanic employees overtime pay while at the same time paying non-Hispanic American workers such wage premiums. The suit also charges that the company further violated the law when it threatened to fire employees for complaining about the discrimination.

Such alleged national origin discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Baird Tree has agreed to pay $19,000 in compensation for the damages caused by the discrimination. Back pay damages for the lost overtime wages had previously been settled by the company.

And in addition to the compensatory damages, the ruling prevents Baird Tree from engaging in future unlawful national origin discrimination and retaliation against any employee and also requires the company to provide training on wage discrimination for its senior management officials. The company must now regularly submit copies of its overtime payroll records to the EEOC. And lastly, Baird Tree agreed to EEOC inspection and copying of records regarding any employee complaints related to national origin, wage discrimination or retaliation during the term of the ruling.

EEOC is Committed to Eradicating National Origin and Wage Discrimination

“The EEOC is committed to eradicating national origin and wage discrimination and protecting vulnerable workers who courageously oppose such unlawful practices,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC. “This consent decree ensures that Hispanic employees will receive the same pay for overtime work as all other employees.”

The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) has established six national priorities, one of them being the elimination of discriminatory policies that affect vulnerable workers who might be unaware of or reluctant to exercise their equal employment rights. These policies include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and human trafficking.

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Alexander McQueen Fashions Hit With Second Race Discrimination Lawsuit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on November 25th, 2013

Second Race Discrimination Lawsuit for Calling Saleswoman “Burrito Face” and “Taco Smoke”

Top British fashion house Alexander McQueen was hit with its second discrimination lawsuit this year after a Hispanic saleswoman is alleging she had to endure ethnic and personal slurs for a decade. Moselle Blanco, a former saleswoman at Alexander McQueen’s Manhattan flagship store, is alleging that her bosses called her names like “burrito face,” “taco smoke,”and “Goya princess,” and turned a deaf ear to her complaints.

Blanco says one sales manager in particular, Max Cantey, singled her out. Cantey reportedly spread vicious rumors about her over her decade-long career. According to lawsuit Cantey said Blanco had “greasy hands like a Mexican,” and told her not to touch the furs because she would get oil on them. The lawsuit also claims Cantey claimed she was drunk at work, she gained weight easily and had a claw foot.

Complaints of Race Discrimination Insults Were “Made Light” of by Managers

Blanco alleges that when she complained about the name-calling that managers “made light” of her complaints. Co-workers said the insults were just a byproduct of the “brother-sister” relationship that existed between Cantey and Blanco.

According to court papers when another manager named in the suit blatantly ignored Blanco’s complaints, Cantey responded by spreading lies that she stole store inventory, even claiming Blanco did cocaine in the bathroom.

Blanco was fired in September 2012, allegedly because she did not retrieve a dress that had been sent to Jessica Seinfeld on loan. It was also considered punishment for her prematurely ringing up, as sales, clothes that had been sent to two other clients on consignment. Blanco said the alleged abuse also infringed on “her ability to close additional sales with her clients.”

The Alexander McQueen store has since issued this statement:

“Alexander McQueen is committed to equality in the workplace, and we are proud of our diverse employee base. We take any allegations of this nature seriously and will always investigate them thoroughly, but we will not comment on individual cases.”

Othman Ibela, a black security guard filed a similar lawsuit against the company in July, claiming he subjected to racially insensitive taunting by sales clerks. He was so distraught at his treatment in the company he wanted to hang himself. Ibela also alleges black customers were racially profiled.

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Human Relations Commission charged with Race Discrimination

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on November 14th, 2013

The PA Agengy That Handled Employment Discrimination is Charged With Employment Discrimination!

The Pennsylvania agency that handles discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and property issuesis finding itself the target of a federal discrimination lawsuit. Attorney Kathryn L. Waters is claiming she was denied the agency’s top executive post because she is black.

Waters is seeking $581,941 in damages after the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a letter finding there is “reasonable cause” for Waters to pursue her discrimination claim against the Human Relations Commission.

Waters alleges she should have been chosen for the position of executive director in mid-2011. Instead, the commission chose a white woman, JoAnn L. Edwards of Lebanon, a veteran human relations executive in the nonprofit sector.

In her lawsuit Waters claims she was better qualified for the job and that the Human Relations Commission’s decision not to hire her was in violation of her civil rights.

Waters filed the lawsuit after the commission refused to negotiate with her about the discrimination claims. She is representing herself in the lawsuit and has asked the judge presiding over the case, Judge Yvette Kane to allow her to proceed under pauper status. Waters’ only income is from working at a Harrisburg day care center.

The EEOC did, however deny her allegation that she had been discriminated against when she was not hired for a special assistant job at the Human Relations Commission in November 2011, noting the hiring for that job was based on rankings devised by a colorblind computer program.

However, the executive director position hiring was based on recommendations of a search committee that considered 60 candidates. Waters claims the hiring committee improperly lowered her ranking among those candidates from the No. 2 spot to the No. 4 spot. At that point the agency officials decided to consider only the top three applicants for the second round of employment interviews.

Water alleges Edwards was originally ranked fourth on the candidate list. The EEOC found that, while the commission claimed Edwards scored highest in an evaluation of the three finalists, another black woman actually ranked higher by the search committee, but was not hired. The EEOC also concluded that Waters’ qualifications for the executive director job actually did exceed Edwards’ qualifications.

EEOC Concluded Race Discrimination Not a Factor in Commission’s Hiring

The EEOC concluded the Human Relation Commission’s claim that race was not a factor in Edwards’ hiring “does not withstand scrutiny” and that there are grounds to believe that discrimination might have occurred. The EEOC also denied a Human Relation Commission request that the EEOC reconsider its finding in the Waters case and urged the matter be resolved through a conciliation process.

The matter was referred to the U.S Department of Justice, which sent Waters a letter stating that it would not file a lawsuit over the dispute but she had a right to file her own lawsuit under the federal Civil Rights Act. The letter also stated “This should not be taken to mean that the Department of Justice has made a judgment as to whether or not your charge is meritorious.”

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Racial Discrimination Charged by African-American Hooter’s Waitress

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination on October 27th, 2013

Hair Color Deemed Improper for An African-American Woman

Farryn Johnson, an African-American 25-year-old Hooters waitress, alleges she was let go because of her blonde highlights, even thought white waitresses are allowed to color their hair at the chain restaurant.

In the racial discrimination complaint filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, Johnson is claiming she was let go from her job on grounds of having an “improper image” after she refused to remove the blonde highlights from her dark brown hair.

“They gave me write-ups, and they told me I need to take the color out of my hair. And they said I couldn’t have blond in my hair because I’m black. They specifically said, ‘Black women don’t have blond in their hair, so you need to take it out,'” Johnson said.

In her complaint she wrote, “Because Hooters permits non-African-American women with their hair dyed colors vastly different from their natural hair colors to work as Hooters Girls, I believe Hooters only deemed my hair color ‘improper’ because I am an African-American woman. I was discharged because Hooters imposes different and more restrictive beauty standards on African-American women than it does on women of other races.”

…employers can’t have two separate unequal sets of rules

Her attorney, Jessica Weber, had this to say; “The law is clear that employers can’t have two separate unequal sets of rules-one for African-Americans employees and one for everybody else, and yet that’s exactly what Hooters did here in firing Miss Johnson, an African-American employee solely because she’s African-American. They targeted her because of her hair solely because of her race.”

Hooters’ chief human resources officer, Rebecca Sinclair said in a statement, “When you’re representing an iconic brand, there are standards to follow.

Hooters Girls are required to be camera-ready at all times to promote the glamorous, wholesome look for which Hooters is known.” She went on to say, “Hooters adamantly denies that it has different policies and standards for hair based on race. As a global brand, Hooters embraces our culturally diverse employee base and our standards are applied impartially.”

Peter K. Levine

A Professional Law Corporation

http://www.employmentforall.org/

Chicago restaurant accused of being “a hotbed of racism”

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on September 26th, 2013

Since the 1970’s Alex Dana’s Rosebud restaurants have been comfortable places for diners seeking hearty Italian entrees. The company operates 10 sites in the Chicago area and employs more than 900 people.

But allegedly, according to a recently filed federal lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Rosebud is also a hotbed of racism and discriminatory practices and has been since late 2009.

The EEOC claims the restaurant violated civil rights laws by refusing to hire blacks. It found during its investigation, most Rosebud restaurant  locations had no black employees. The EEOC charges that these discriminatory practices have occurred at the 10 current locations as well as three other locations that have been closed.

John Hendrickson, the regional attorney for the EEOC said the lawsuit seeks compensation for black applicants denied employment, a class of potentially hundreds of people.

Hendrickson alleges that based on interviews with numerous witnesses the restaurant uses slurs when talking about blacks, and also that Dana and other managers have expressed a preference not to hire African Americans. The EEOC claims it has tried “informal methods of conciliation, conference and persuasion” involving Rosebud, but to no avail.

Rosebud spokesman claims “zero tolerance” for discrimination

A spokesman for Rosebud sites the company’s “zero tolerance” policy for discrimination, saying it has cooperated with the EEOC. “We have provided them 32,000 job applications and copies of other documents,” the spokesman said. In a separate statement, a spokesperson said, “We consider it our mission to treat our employees as a family – with honesty and respect – and we are proud of our employment record and the diversity of our work force.”

The company states they have no reliable data on the racial composition of its work force. A spokesman said the reports are based on information employees provide voluntarily. Many do not fill out the form, he said.

Hendrickson said the company’s hiring record was so outrageous as to immediately suggest bias. “There are lame excuses and there are lamer excuses,” he said.

The EEOC has also accused Rosebud of violating federal law by failing to hold onto employment applications for at least a year and by not filing required annual reports with the agency before 2009. These annual reports are required of companies with more than 100 employees. They include information data on workers’ job categories, race, ethnicity and gender.

Three California police officers suing for discrimination

By Peter K. Levine posted in Discrimination on August 16th, 2013

California police officers appear to be facing wide-spread discrimination lately. Earlier this week, we talked about a California lieutenant in Concord who recently settled his retaliation lawsuit with the department. Now, we will talk about three Latino officers who say they have been passed up for multiple promotions on the basis of their race.

Three officers with the Westminster Police Department has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that they are suffering from race discrimination. In particular, they argue that they have been passed over for promotions, with the department opting to promote less experienced white officers over them.

One plaintiff gave a specific example of his application for a detective position a few years ago. The Latino officer is a U.S. Marine Corps major and has received many positive performance reviews while on the police force. Despite his credentials, the position was given to a white candidate with no military experience, no college degree and only one year on the job as an officer.

The Latino officer described that “it’s glaring to the point where I can’t figure out anything else except discrimination.” Together, the three men say that they have been denied at least 30 promotions. Most of the time, they say, officers who had less experience and fewer qualifications were given the positions over the Latino officers.

Of the 90 police officers in the Westminster Police Department, only 12 are Latino. Three of them are involved in this lawsuit, which they hope will cause the department to correct its discriminatory practices. They men are requesting monetary damages as well as promotions to the positions they have been passed over for.

Sexual Harassment Attorney Los Angeles – Peter K. Levine

Source: San Jose Mercury News, “Police officers file employer discrimination suit,” Amy Taxin, 2 March 2011

Let's Get Started
Schedule a Free Consultation

9+8 =

I have read and understand the disclaimer

Call Us (323) 934-1234

Office Location
Follow Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation on Twitter Connect with Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation on Facebook. Linked In Profile for Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation YouTube
We provide legal services & no cost consultations to individuals in the following languages, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese