Federal Contractor Targeted and Fired Group of Hispanic Employees, Federal Agency Charged
WASHINGTON -- R&R Janitorial, Painting and Building Services, Inc., a federal contractor that provides janitorial services to government agencies, violated federal law when it fired 16 Hispanic workers because of their race and national origin, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, effective April 27, 2018, R&R terminated 16 Hispanic janitors who had been working at the Harry S. Truman building in Washington, D.C., because of their race and national origin. Some of the janitors who were terminated had been working at the building for at least 10 years and, in some cases, for nearly two decades.
The EEOC further alleges that R&R retained or continued to employ janitors with fewer years of seniority than the Hispanic janitors who were fired and otherwise discriminated against them in connection with their terminations. The EEOC’s lawsuit also charges that R&R subjected the Hispanic janitors to unfavorable treatment such as tolerating unwelcome and offensive remarks based on race and national origin, assigning them the most unfavorable tasks, and summarily rejecting concerns raised about disparate treatment or threatening to replace those who reported or opposed it.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race and national origin discrimination in employment, including firing employees on the basis of race and national origin. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. R&R Janitorial, Painting and Building Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-02539) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief to prevent discrimination against Hispanic employees.
“Redressing and deterring class-wide race and national origin discrimination is a critical priority for the EEOC,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Terminating employees because of their race and national origin is an unacceptable employment practice that violates federal law. We will continue to work to combat such practices.”
Mindy E. Weinstein, director of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office, said, “Employment decisions should never be based on a person’s race or national origin. The EEOC stands firm in its commitment to prevent and remedy unlawful practices.”
The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office. The Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.