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Fair Housing News – HUD FILES HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST FACEBOOK (Aug. 2018)

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.

HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code. Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of ‘targeted advertising.’ Read HUD’s complaint against Facebook.

“The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination including those who might limit or deny housing options with a click of a mouse,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face.”

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing transactions including print and online advertisement on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. HUD’s Secretary-initiated complaint follows the Department’s investigation into Facebook’s advertising platform which includes targeting tools that enable advertisers to filter prospective tenants or homebuyers based on these protected classes.

For example, HUD’s complaint alleges Facebook’s platform violates the Fair Housing Act. It enables advertisers to, among other things:

Ø display housing ads either only to men or women;

Ø not show ads to Facebook users interested in an “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture”;

Ø not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “child care” or “parenting,” or show ads only to users with children above a specified age;

Ø to display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the “Christian Church,” “Sikhism,” “Hinduism,” or the “Bible.”

Ø not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “Latin America,” “Canada,” “Southeast Asia,” “China,” “Honduras,” or “Somalia.”

Ø draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes.

Additionally, Facebook promotes its advertising targeting platform for housing purposes with “success stories” for finding “the perfect homeowners,” “reaching home buyers,” “attracting renters” and “personalizing property ads.”

In addition, today the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) filed a statement of interest, joined in by HUD, in U.S. District Court on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook’s advertising platform.

HUD Secretary-Initiated Complaints

The Secretary of HUD may file a fair housing complaint directly against those whom the Department believes may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Secretary-Initiated Complaints are appropriate in cases, among others, involving significant issues that are national in scope or when the Department is made aware of potential violations of the Act and broad public interest relief is warranted or where HUD does not know of a specific aggrieved person or injured party that is willing or able to come forward. A Fair Housing Act complaint, including a Secretary initiated complaint, is not a determination of liability.

A Secretary-Initiated Complaint will result in a formal fact-finding investigation. The party against whom the complaint is filed will be provided notice and an opportunity to respond. If HUD’s investigation results in a determination that reasonable cause exists that there has been a violation of the Fair Housing Act, a charge of discrimination may be filed. Throughout the process, HUD will seek conciliation and voluntary resolution. Charges may be resolved through settlement, through referral to the Department of Justice, or through an administrative determination.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. In commemoration, HUD, local communities, and fair housing organizations across the country have coordinated a variety of activities to enhance fair housing awareness, highlight HUD’s fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of activities, log onto www.hud.gov/fairhousingis50.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

OFCCP Issues Two New Policies (Aug. 2018)

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

OFCCP recently published two policy directives. One directive launches an initiative that seeks broader compliance with regulations for each of OFCCP’s three enforcement authorities. As part of this initiative, the agency will select focused reviews from the same neutral selection system used to identify and create OFCCP’s supply and service scheduling list. The other directive instructs OFCCP staff, in all their activities, to take into account recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and White House Executive Orders that protect religious freedom.

To learn more about these initiatives, you can read the directives and the press release.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program: What Federal Contractors Can Expect (Aug. 2018)

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

OFCCP recently published “What Federal Contractors Can Expect” to formalize expectations for interactions between OFCCP and companies doing business with the federal government, federal contractors and subcontractors. Among other things, the agency recommitted to timely and efficient progress of compliance evaluations, reasonable opportunities to discuss compliance evaluation concerns, and opportunities to provide meaningful feedback on the quality of the agency’s compliance assistance offerings.

Learn more about all of the things contractors can expect here.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Digest Bulletin: Focus on Harassment and Retaliation (Aug. 2018)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

EEOC SUES FAIRBANKS RANCH COUNTRY CLUB FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT
General Manager Harassed and Retaliated Against Women Who Refused Advances, Federal Agency Charges

SAN DIEGO – Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., one of 22 California private member clubs forming The Bay Club, violated federal law when it failed to prevent and redress ongoing sexual harassment of female workers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the general manager at Fairbanks Ranch sexually harassed a class of female employees daily, including soliciting naked pictures from them; grabbing their buttocks; attempting to kiss them; offering an employee to male customers for lap dances; and even choking one employee. This type of behavior was so prevalent that other employees felt free to engage in sexual harassment as well, the federal agency charged.

The EEOC further charges that the general manager was the sole decision maker and had the authority to hire and fire at will. He regularly abused his position by requiring sexual favors for job benefits, the federal agency contends. When the women would refuse, the manager threatened termination, or reduced their working hours. Because of this hostile work environment, some female employees felt they had no choice but to resign.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrim­ination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting a claim against discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern Region of California (EEOC v. Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC, and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc., Case No.3:18-CV-01853-W-BLM), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the complainants and class members as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent Fairbanks Ranch from engaging in future discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

“Every employer has an obligation to prevent sexual harassment at its workplaces,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which has jurisdiction over San Diego County. “Main­taining an employee manual is not enough. Training and oversight for all staff members must become how employers ensure safety and compliance in this area of the law.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office added, “The allegations of this case are especially shocking, being that a general manager was involved. Having ultimate hiring authority does not permit leveraging that power to take from those who work for you.”

Fairbanks Ranch Country Club was acquired by Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC on July 18, 2016. Its parent corporation is BC Equity Ventures, LLC.

Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

EEOC SUES MUREX PETROLEUM CORP. FOR RACE DISCRIMINATION
Texas-Based Oil and Gas Company Subjected Employee to Racial Abuse, Federal Agency Charged

MINNEAPOLIS – A Texas-based oil and gas company, operating in Tioga, N.D., violated civil rights law by subjecting an African-American employee to a hostile work environment based on his race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in North Dakota yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Derrick Jenkins worked for Murex Petroleum Corp. from April to September 2014 as a roustabout at its Tioga facility. During Jenkins’s employment, he was subjected to racial harassment by his white coworkers. The abuse included the coworkers calling Jenkins racial slurs such as “spook,” “spade” and “Buckwheat.” They also made other racially derogatory comments, includ­ing the racially offensive term “n—-r-rigged,” the EEOC alleged. The harassment was witnessed by Jenkins’s supervisor, but no action was taken to stop it.

According to the lawsuit, another African-American employee complained to a high-level executive at the company, but no action was taken to stop or prevent the harassment in this case either.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination based on race, including racial harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Murex Petroleum Corp., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00169-CSM after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

“The EEOC is committed to stopping racial harassment,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “We encourage people to come forward when they believe they are experiencing discrimination.”

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “The use of racial slurs has no place in the workplace. The EEOC will continue to vigorously litigate cases involving such unlawful misconduct.”

The EEOC’s legal team in its Minneapolis Area Office will conduct the litigation under the management of the agency’s Chicago District Office. That office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

EEOC FILES SEVEN MORE SUITS AGAINST HARASSMENT
Agency Challenges Harassment and Retaliation Across the Country

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed seven lawsuits this week against various employers across the country, charging them with harassment, and also announced a major resolution of a harassment lawsuit. This multi-state action by the EEOC should reinforce to employers that the consequences of not preventing or stopping harassment – on all bases – are significant.

“Workplace harassment causes serious harm to women and men in all kinds of jobs across the country,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “These lawsuits allege harassment based on race, national origin and sex and involve workers at country clubs and cleaners, sports bars and airlines, in health care and grocery stores. When employers fail to protect their employees from harassment, the EEOC may bring legal action to stop the harassment and prevent future harm.”

Lipnic continued, “I commend our investigative and trial teams and our Office of General Counsel for their work on these important cases. I also commend the individuals who came forward and, in many cases, also suffered retaliation for reporting the harassment. Their employers should have rewarded them, not punished them for speaking up.”

Of the seven lawsuits filed this week, five alleged sexual harassment, two alleged racial harass­ment and one also alleged harassment based on national origin. Five of the seven also included claims that the employees were retaliated against for reporting the harassment, demon­strating that the fear of reporting is real and justified.

The EEOC’s Los Angeles Office and San Diego Field Office filed suit against Fairbanks Ranch Country Club for sexual harassment and retaliation against a class of female employees. According to the EEOC’s suit, the general manager solicited naked pictures from female employees; grabbed their buttocks; attempted to kiss them; offered one employee to male customers for lap dances; and even choked one employee. The EEOC further charged that the general manager abused his position by requiring sexual favors for job benefits. When the women would refuse, the manager threatened termination or reduced their working hours, which forced some female employees to resign.

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office and Albuquerque Area Office filed suit against Ojos Locos Sports Cantina for sexual harassment by managers and co-workers and for retaliation. The EEOC charges that a group of women were subjected to pervasive unwelcome conduct, including requests that they show more cleavage in their uniforms, comments about their breasts and buttocks, com­ments by male employees about their penises, text requests for sex, and unwelcome touching of their bodies, which created a hostile work environment for them. The EEOC also alleges that women who complained about the harassment suffered negative job consequences, such as fewer hours, unfavor­able shifts or changes to work assignments. The EEOC charges that one women was fired because she opposed the illegal harassment. Finally, the EEOC claims that the hostility of the environment and Ojos Locos’ failure to correct it forced other women to resign.

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office and Denver Field Office sued Amada Senior Care for sexual harassment and retaliation of two female employees. The EEOC charges that the women were subjected to pervasive unwelcome conduct, including unwelcome touching of their breasts and buttocks and derogatory sexual remarks when they provided in-home care to a client. The client also allegedly exposed himself to the women and touched them with his genitals. When the women brought this behavior to the attention of Amada Senior Care, the company failed to investigate the allegations and continued to assign them to the client, creating a hostile work environment for them. After the women complained about the harassment, Amada retaliated by cutting their work hours, terminating one of them, and forcing the other to quit.

The EEOC’s Atlanta District Office filed suit against Piggly Wiggly for subjecting two female workers to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliating against them for opposing the sexual harassment. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that a male employee made lewd sexual comments and sexual advances to two female store clerks at a Piggly Wiggly store in Hogansville, Ga. The women reported the harassment to the store manager on multiple occasions, but the company failed to take any action to stop the harassment. Instead, the company cut one employee’s hours after she com­plained, and later terminated both employees after they filed a written complaint detailing the harassment.

In a suit filed against United Airlines, the EEOC’s Dallas District Office and San Antonio Field Office alleged that United allowed a hostile work environment of sexual harassment over a multi-year period. A United captain frequently posted sexually explicit images of a United flight attendant to various websites, making reference to the flight attendant’s name, home airport, and sometimes referencing the airline’s tagline “Fly the Friendly Skies.” The lawsuit alleges that the posts were seen by several male co-workers and adversely affected the flight attendant’s working environment. United failed to prevent and correct the pilot’s behavior, even after the flight attendant made numerous complaints and provided substantial evidence to support her complaints.

The Chicago District Office of the EEOC filed a race harassment lawsuit against Murex Petroleum Corp., a Texas-based oil and gas company operating in Tioga, N.D. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that white co-workers called an African-American casual laborer racial slurs such as “spook,” “spade” and “Buckwheat.” The coworkers also made racially derogatory comments including using the racially offensive term “n—-r-rigged,” the EEOC alleged. His supervisor witnessed the harass­ment, but no action was taken to stop it.

The EEOC’s Houston District Office and New Orleans field office sued Marion’s Cleaners for harassment based on race and national origin and retaliation for firing the victim who complained about it. The lawsuit alleges that one of the company’s employees spent months continually telling the victim that she “needed to go back to Mexico,” that she “was nothing,” that she was a “stupid Mexican,” a “dirty Mexican,” and to “shut up” when speaking Spanish. When the employee reported the comments to Marion’s Cleaners, it did nothing. The employee asked her co-worker to stop making the comments and he responded by grabbing her by the hair, repeatedly punching her in the face, and then pressing her against an exposed steam pipe. She suffered severe, second-degree burns and trauma as a result of the incident. The suit alleges that Marion’s Cleaners fired the victim for reporting the incident rather than taking action against the harasser.

Early this week, the EEOC announced that it had settled a lawsuit with Alorica, Inc., a third-party call center and technology services company for $3.5 million. The lawsuit alleged that Alorica subjected male and female customer services employees to a sexually hostile work environment. The three-year consent decree settling the suit requires sexual harassment training, including incorpor­ating civility and bystander intervention training, for its employees, plus monitoring, reporting, and revisions to strengthen the company’s policies and procedures.

Acting Chair Lipnic pointed out that roughly one-quarter of the EEOC’s litigation filed in recent years has included an allegation of workplace harassment. Almost fully one-third of the 80,000 to 90,000 discrimination charges the EEOC receives each year include an allegation of harassment.

That is the tip of the iceberg. Studies show that more than 80 percent of individuals who experience harassment never file a formal complaint. Nearly three out of four individuals who experience harassment never even raise the issue internally as documented in the 2016 final report by Commissioner and now-Acting Chair Lipnic and Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. The report includes recommenda­tions and resources regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training, and developing a sense of collective responsibility.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

EEOC TO HOLD EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING CONFERENCE OCT. 29-31 IN CHARLOTTESVILLE

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

CONTACT:

Kimberly Smith-Brown

Christine Nazer

James Ryan

Joseph Olivares

Kim Dulic

202-663-4191

newsroom@eeoc.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 7, 2018

EEOC TO HOLD EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING CONFERENCE OCT. 29-31 IN CHARLOTTESVILLE

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold its Executive Leadership Training Conference (ELTC) on Oct. 29-31 at the Boar’s Head Resort Educa­tional Campus in Charlottesville, Va., the federal agency announced today.

This year’s ELTC is designed to give participants skills to build high-performance teams that are innovative, adaptable and able to successfully cross-collaborate to produce targeted results. Agile leaders are able to create teams that are analytical, have strong values, and a sense of connectedness with team members and other stakeholders. To learn more about ELTC or for registration and exhibitor information visit us at http://eeocleadershipconference.com/default.asp

The ELTC meets the professional development needs of senior leaders in the field of equal employment opportunity (EEO), Human Resources (HR) and diversity and inclusion (D&I). Training will address key leadership competencies; personal development and critically important topics vital to the success of current and future executives – particularly senior EEO officials for federal, state and local governments; private sector EEO executives; HR executives with responsibility for managing and implementing an EEO program; as well as those striving to attain senior level positions.

“ELTC is a cost-effective and modest investment in the executive leadership skills necessary to run a successful EEO program,” said Carlton M. Hadden, director of EEOC’s Office of Federal Oper­ations. “This training will directly address core leadership competencies, ensuring that EEO profes­sionals have the executive training necessary to meet the challenges of our profession.”

ELTC offers many learning opportunities throughout the three days. Day One begins with a workshop on political savvy led by Vanessa Phipps of The Future Force Group, LLC, followed by a networking opportunity to engage in more interpersonal dialogue. Day Two includes remarks on managing up from leadership expert Mary Abbajay, president and founder of Careerstone Group, LLC, followed by Bridging the Gap Cooperative Group Challenges that sharpen performance by calling leaders to use their creativity and problem-solving skills. Day Three leadership trainings include University of Virginia presenter Pete Ronayne, discussing leadership and innovation; John Lord of Lord/Thompson Associates, discussing values-based leadership, and John Whitlow of JHW Consulting Services, discussing strategies to build teamwork. Registration is limited to GS-14 level and above, as well as GS-13 level employees who demonstrate exceptional potential for leadership, and private sector equivalents.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

Justice Department reaches Agreement with the City of Minneapolis to Resolve Disability and Genetic Information Discrimination (Aug. 2018)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with the City of Minneapolis to resolve its lawsuit alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and genetic information.

The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that a veteran was not hired by the Minneapolis Police Department in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because of his disability of post-traumatic stress disorder. The complaint also alleges that Minneapolis engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in violation of Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) by routinely requesting and obtaining genetic information from applicants for police officer positions during the pre-employment examination process. This is the department’s first lawsuit challenging discrimination under Title II of GINA.

Under the agreement, Minneapolis will pay $189,338.89 in damages to the complainant, and will implement policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that it does not discriminate in its hiring practices on the basis of disability, and does not request, require, or unlawfully obtain information in violation of the ADA or GINA. Minneapolis will also train applicable Police Department employees.

To find out more about this complaint, agreement, or the ADA, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov.

U.S. Department of Justice Weekly Digest Bulletin (Aug. 2018)

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Nation’s Second Largest Egg Producer

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with Rose Acre Farms Inc. (Rose Acre), which is based in Indiana and is one of the largest egg producers in the United States. The settlement resolves a long-standing lawsuit filed by the Justice Department alleging that Rose Acre violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization.

The Department’s amended complaint, filed on Nov. 7, 2012, alleged that from at least June 2009 to Dec. 22, 2011, Rose Acre routinely required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present a Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document to prove their work authorization, but did not require specific documents from U.S. citizens. All work-authorized individuals, whether U.S. citizens or non-U.S. citizens, have the right to choose which valid documentation to present to prove they are authorized to work. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship or national origin.

“The INA makes clear that that when employers verify the identity and work authorization of employees, they must not treat employees differently based on their citizenship or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “This case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to ensuring that employers implement the employment eligibility verification process in a manner that is non-discriminatory.”

Under the settlement, Rose Acre will pay a civil penalty of $70,000; train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision; and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the antidiscrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Nation’s Second Largest Egg Producer (Aug. 2018)

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with Rose Acre Farms Inc. (Rose Acre), which is based in Indiana and is one of the largest egg producers in the United States. The settlement resolves a long-standing lawsuit filed by the Justice Department alleging that Rose Acre violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization.

The Department’s amended complaint, filed on Nov. 7, 2012, alleged that from at least June 2009 to Dec. 22, 2011, Rose Acre routinely required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to present a Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document to prove their work authorization, but did not require specific documents from U.S. citizens. All work-authorized individuals, whether U.S. citizens or non-U.S. citizens, have the right to choose which valid documentation to present to prove they are authorized to work. The antidiscrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship or national origin.

“The INA makes clear that that when employers verify the identity and work authorization of employees, they must not treat employees differently based on their citizenship or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “This case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to ensuring that employers implement the employment eligibility verification process in a manner that is non-discriminatory.”

Under the settlement, Rose Acre will pay a civil penalty of $70,000; train its employees on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision; and be subject to departmental monitoring for two years.

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the antidiscrimination provision of the INA. The statute prohibits, among other things, citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Bulletin: Race, Color, National Origin Lawsuit Settlement (Aug. 2018)

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

SLS HOTEL TO PAY $2.5 MILLION TO SETTLE EEOC RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN LAWSUIT
Hotel Fired Employees Based on Race, Color, and National Origin, Federal Agency Charged

MIAMI – The SLS Hotel, operated by hotel, restaurant and nightlife company called “sbe”, will pay $2.5 million and provide other relief to settle the discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, black Haitian dishwashers were wrongfully terminated on the basis of their race, color, and national origin and were replaced by a staffing agency workforce of mostly light-skinned Hispanics. The terminated dishwashers worked in the kitchens of The Bazaar by José Andrés, Katsuya, and the Hyde Beach—all restaurant venues located at SLS Hotel, in South Beach.

The dishwashers testified that their supervising chefs referred to them as “slaves” and reprimanded them for speaking Creole, even amongst themselves, while Hispanic employees were allowed to speak Spanish.

The testimony also revealed that the black Haitian dishwashers complained to human resources about discrimination and about having a “racist” supervisor but, instead of addressing these complaints, the SLS Hotel fired the entire dishwashing department made up primarily of black Haitians, without providing them an opportunity to apply to the staffing agency before their termination.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and/or national origin. The EEOC filed suit against SLS Hotel South Beach (Case No.1:17-cv-21446) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The $2.5 million settlement amount will be awarded to 17 black Haitian dishwashers, 15 of which are represented by The Alderman Firm. The SLS Hotel also agreed to provide equitable relief over a three-year period that includes comprehensive training for human resources officials, management personnel, and hourly employees across six of sbe’s South Florida hotels: SLS Hotel South Beach, Shore Club, SLS Brickell, Delano, The Raleigh, and SLS Lux Miami. Further, an independent consent decree monitor will attend all required training sessions and provide comprehensive reports to the EEOC. The EEOC will also receive comprehensive data on any terminations, layoffs, or involuntary separations that may occur over the three-year period across the six sbe hotels in the Miami region.

The EEOC Miami District Office Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg said, Employers cannot use outsourcing as a proxy for discriminatory practices. The EEOC will continue to fight to prevent these discriminatory employment practices, especially against vulnerable workers.”

Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “EEOC will continue to protect workers in the hospitality industry, including the black Haitian community that makes up a significant part of the South Florida workforce.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office has investigators who speak English, Spanish, and Creole and processes discrimination charges, admin­istrative enforcement and conducting agency litigation in Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

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Departments of Justice and Labor Formalize New Partnership to Protect U.S. Workers From Discrimination and Combat Visa Abuse (Aug. 2018)

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Today, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Labor (DOL) expanded their collaboration to better protect U.S. workers from discrimination by employers that prefer to hire temporary visa workers over qualified U.S. workers. This new partnership, memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), establishes protocols for the agencies to share information, refer matters between them, and train each other’s employees, with the goal of better protecting U.S. workers. This partnership will enhance the Civil Rights Division’s efforts to stop companies from discriminating against U.S. workers and assist the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration in identifying noncompliance with its foreign labor certification process.

In 2017, the Civil Rights Division launched the Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative, which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement measures against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of foreign visa workers. Under this Initiative, the Civil Rights Division has opened dozens of investigations; filed one lawsuit; and reached settlement agreements with three employers. Since the Initiative’s inception, employers have agreed to pay or distributed over $285,000 in back pay to affected U.S. workers. The Employment and Training Administration has assisted the Division’s efforts under this Initiative and today’s partnership expands and formalizes that relationship.

The Civil Rights Division has also increased its collaboration with other federal agencies, including the Departments of State and Homeland Security, to combat discrimination and abuse by employers improperly using temporary visa workers. Today’s MOU expands on the Division’s existing partnership with DOL. In 2017, the Division entered into a similar ongoing partnership with DOL’s Wage and Hour Division to combat discrimination and violations of other federal worker protection laws by facilitating the agencies’ information sharing.

“Employers should hire workers based on their skills, experience, and authorization to work; not based on discriminatory preferences that violate the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Our partnership with DOL, formalized today, significantly enhances the Civil Rights Division’s ability to identify employers that favor temporary visa holders over U.S. workers who can do the job.”

“Streamlining the process for information sharing between the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice will help protect U.S. workers from unlawful discrimination,” said Rosemary Lahasky, Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOL’s Employment and Training Administration. “This partnership will help ensure U.S. workers are prioritized to fill jobs.”

The Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has statutory and regulatory authority to certify employers seeking certain employment-based visas, including H-2A and H-2B visas. These visa programs require employers to first seek and hire available U.S. workers before hiring visa workers.

The Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation. An employer that prefers to hire temporary visa workers over available, qualified U.S. workers may be discriminating in violation of this law.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites. Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to retaliation; different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, can file a charge or contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.