Orland Park Janitorial Company to Pay $360,000 to Resolve Claim of Discrimination against Hispanics

by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

EEOC Says RJB Properties Harassed and Fired  Hispanic Employees and Retaliated Against Supervisors Who Refused to Fire Hispanic  Employees

CHICAGO - RJB Properties, Inc. (RJB), a janitorial company  headquartered in Orland Park, Ill., will pay $360,000 and provide other  non-monetary relief under a consent decree resolving an employment  discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC). 

The EEOC had alleged that RJB illegally fired a group of  Hispanic janitors because of their national origin and subjected them to  harassment and discriminatory work conditions.  These included the use of ethnic slurs and requiring that Hispanic employees perform more  difficult work than non-Hispanic co-workers. EEOC also alleged that RJB retaliated against two African-American  supervisors by firing one and forcing the other to quit because they refused to  follow the vice president's orders to fire Hispanic employees.  In addition, EEOC alleged that one of those  supervisors, a man, was sexually harassed and fired for refusing to submit to  his female supervisor's sexual advances. 

The consent decree  entered by United States Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys May 1, 2013, provides  $360,000 in monetary relief to be distributed to ten discrimination  victims.  In addition, the decree prohibits  RJB from engaging in national origin discrimination or harassment, sexual  harassment, or retaliation. 

During the two-year term of the decree, RJB must provide a  wide variety of additional defined relief targeted to combat the discrimination  alleged by EEOC. It must revise and distribute a policy in English and Spanish against  national origin discrimination and harassment, sexual harassment, and  retaliation, and provide annual training in English and Spanish to all  employees regarding the company's policy and complaint procedure. It must also  identify a Spanish-speaking employee to receive complaints of discrimination or  harassment, and maintain records of complaints. In addition, RJB is required to  provide periodic reports to EEOC of any complaints of discrimination, and to post  a notice in English and Spanish regarding the resolution of the suit.

John Hendrickson, EEOC's Regional Attorney in Chicago, said,  "EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan has made protecting the rights of vulnerable  workers, like the relatively low-wage janitors here, a priority.  We hope our work on this case signals that this  priority is not just a matter of paying lip service, but that we are putting  real muscle behind it."

"We are pleased with this decree because it includes a  number of provisions specifically tailored to have a real, practical impact  upon the discrimination we intended to challenge,"  added EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane  Smason, "We were interested not only in money but in effecting a real change,  and we think this consent decree will do that."

"Firing Hispanic workers because of their national origin  clearly violates Title VII," said John Rowe, EEOC's district director in  Chicago who oversaw the EEOC's administrative investigation of the charges of  discrimination underlying the lawsuit. "Title VII also makes it illegal to  retaliate against employees who oppose discrimination.  Firing supervisors, like EEOC alleged RJB did  in this case, because they stood up and refused to go along with their  company's discriminatory orders is illegal retaliation.  Combating retaliation has long been a high priority  for us."

The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The suit was brought under Title VII of the  Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on national  origin and sex (including harassment) as well as retaliation for complaining  about discrimination.  The EEOC filed the  case (EEOC v. RJB Properties, Inc. and  Blackstone Consulting, Inc., No. 10-CV-2001) in the United States District  Court for the Northern District of Illinois on March 31, 2010.   In addition to Hendrickson and Smason, EEOC  was represented by trial attorneys Ann Henry, Laura Feldman, and Gordon Waldron.

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for  processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct  of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and  South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination.  Further information  about the EEOC is available at www.eeoc.gov .

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

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