Champion Fiberglass Inc. (Champion), a Houston-area manufacturing company, has settled a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accusing the company of discriminatory hiring practices.
The EEOC said under a consent decree entered by U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks, Champion must pay $225,000 to compensate a class of non-Hispanic applicants and job seekers who were prohibited from applying for a laborer position.
The consent decree also requires Champion to correct alleged discriminatory practices, like maintaining a Spanish-speaking preference and the exclusive use of word-of-mouth recruiting for unskilled laborer jobs.
In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that the company violated federal anti-discrimination laws by engaging in systemic discrimination against a class of non-Hispanic applicants for employment who were not hired or even considered for employment by Champion because of their race and/or national origin.
The EEOC alleged that Champion engaged in a pattern or practice of intentionally failing to hire or consider non-Hispanic applicants and job seekers for laborer positions.
The EEOC also alleged that Champion impermissibly maintained a preference that its laborers speak Spanish and engaged almost exclusively in word-of-mouth recruiting in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).
EEOC alleged that, when a non-Hispanic, non-Spanish speaking job seeker responded to a posted sign advertising for laborer positions, Champion refused to even give him an application. According to the EEOC, these unlawful practices had an adverse impact on non-Hispanic applicants and job seekers and resulted in an almost exclusively Hispanic, Spanish-speaking laborer workforce for a job that did not need Spanish proficiency for the effective performance of the job.
In addition to the monetary compensation to the class, the decree also contains injunctive relief. It prohibits Champion from maintaining a Spanish-speaking preference and from engaging in word-of-mouth recruiting as its sole means of recruiting for the laborer position.
Champion is also required to assist the EEOC in locating potential victims of the alleged discrimination; change its recruiting, outreach, and hiring to comply with the law; implement policies and procedures about hiring criteria, the application process, and records maintenance; and develop and maintain policies and procedures addressing illegal discrimination in the workplace, including complaint procedures and guidelines for investigating complaints of discrimination.
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