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Posted On: May 12, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Hispanic Workers Awarded $4.3 Millinion in Discrimination Case

A case involving 149 Hispanic warehouse workes has been settled. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and B & H Foto and Electronics Corp. ("B & H") agreed to resolve a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of 149 Hispanic warehouse workers at one of the largest retail sellers of photographic, computer and electronic equipment in New York. B&H will pay $4.3 million to settle the case.

The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that B & H paid Hispanic workers in its warehouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn less than non-Hispanic workers and failed to promote them or provide health benefits because of their national origin. Along with the settlement, the parties agreed to injunctive relief requiring B & H to equalize the wages of Hispanic employees to their non-Hispanic coworkers, conduct employer training, adopt an anti-discrimination policy, post EEOC notices, report to the EEOC, and to be monitored by the EEOC for the next five years.

In 2008, the EEOC received a record 10,601 national origin discrimination charge filings nationwide, an increase of 13% from the prior year and up 50% from about 7,000 charge filings a decade ago. There are many factors which may account for the increase, including the troubled job market and increase in immigrant workers.

Under the law a national origin discrimination occurs when an employer treats someone less favorably because he or she comes from a particular place, because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or because it is believed that he or she has a particular ethnic background. National origin discrimination also occurs when treating someone less favorably at work because of marriage or other association with someone who is of a particular nationality.

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