EEOC targets Houston manufacturing company for allegations of systematic discrimination

By Mark Iandolo | Jul 25, 2017

HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit July 20 against Champion Fiberglass Inc., a manufacturing company based in Houston, over allegations of systematic discrimination against non-Hispanic applicants.

"Refusing to hire or even consider an applicant or job seeker for a laborer position because of his or her race or national origin unlawfully and unconscionably deprives people of equal opportunities within the workplace," said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the EEOC's Houston District Office.

According to allegations, Champion intentionally failed to hire non-Hispanic applicants for its laborer positions. Additionally, the company purportedly favored Spanish-speaking employees, which the EEOC says is a violation because it has a disparate effect on non-Hispanic applicants.

"Title VII prohibits an employer from relying on non-job related criteria that it knows will exclude persons because of their race or national origin. The EEOC will defend victims of this sort of discrimination,” said Rudy L. Sustaita, the EEOC's regional attorney in Houston.

The EEOC seeks back pay with pre-judgment interest, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The agency also seeks injunction to prevent such alleged discrimination in the future.

"By refusing to permit job seekers who do not speak Spanish to even apply for a position, without a valid, justifiable reason for doing so, an employer engages in discriminatory practices that violate Title VII,” said the EEOC's senior trial attorney in charge of the case, Connie Gatlin.

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