A cleaning company is legally cleaning up its mess after being accused of wrongfully firing African-Americans, and white employees who refused to discriminate in hiring.
Announced recently, one of the largest cleaning companies, Matrix, L.L.C will pay $450,000 to 15 former employees to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission.
The lawsuit alleged that Matrix officials ordered white supervisor Barbara Palermi to not hire any more Black cleaners at a site in Concordville, Pennsylvania. When Palermi hired more Black cleaners based on their qualifications, she was fired.
The EEOC also alleged that Matrix management would demand Black cleaners to sit at the back of the cafeteria during their breaks and later they were disallowed to use the cafeteria all together. Months later, all of the African-American employees at the worksite were fired and replaced with an entirely non-white cleaning crew, violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race.
In addition to the monetary relief, a three-year consent decree bars Matrix from engaging in further race discrimination, and they will be required to train its supervisors and managers about the prohibitions against racial discrimination and retaliation.
“We commend the company for its agreement to carry out the significant equitable relief provided in the consent decree, including providing expansive annual training, which will benefit all company employees,” said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office.
The consent decree is effective immediately.
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