A large bakery in Houston will pay $1,042,000 as part of the settlement of a class race and national origin discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.
The EEOC had charged that Lawler Foods Inc. and Lawler Foods Ltd. discriminated against three applicants and a class of African-American and non-Hispanic applicants by failing to hire them into entry-level jobs at Lawler’s Humble, Texas-area facility because of their race.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-03588) on Dec. 16, 2014, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutory conciliation process.
In the lawsuit, EEOC alleged that Lawler had violated Title VII by engaging in a pattern or practice of intentionally failing to hire black and other non-Hispanic applicants for jobs, and by using hiring practices, including word-of-mouth recruiting and advertising a Spanish-language preference, that had an adverse disparate impact on black and other non-Hispanic applicants without any business justification.
In addition to the monetary claims fund, the four-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Lawler from engaging in race or national origin discrimination or retaliation in the future, and provides substantial non-monetary relief. Among other things, Lawler will:
- seek to recruit and hire black and other non-Hispanic job applicants for its production jobs;
- conduct an extensive self-assessment of its hiring to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the terms of the consent decree;
- conduct employee training to further its non-discrimination commitment; and
- designate an internal leader to prioritize compliance with the requirements of the consent decree.
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