Company Refused to Hire Black Applicants, Federal Agency Charged
MIAMI - A Miami transportation company violated federal law by subjecting African-Americans to race discrimination, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Prestige Transportation Service, LLC, a successor corporation to Airbus Alliance, Inc., refused to hire black applicants for employment, discriminated against a black employee, and retaliated against three employees for opposing race discrimination and/or filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Prestige primarily transports crew members of airlines between airports and their hotels.
The EEOC said Prestige's management regularly told its human resources manager that it would be a "waste of paper" to give black persons employment applications, advised her not to give applications to African-Americans, and stated that "black people were trouble and would sue the company." In addition, Prestige singled out its one, non-Hispanic black employee by forcing her to leave early on a regular basis, while allowing Hispanic employees to work their full shifts.
The lawsuit also claims that Prestige unlawfully destroyed or failed to keep records and documents related to employment applications, personnel records, and documents regarding rates of pay and other terms of compensation. Further, Prestige punished employees who opposed the company's unlawful practices, and fired three employees in retaliation for voicing their objections.
This alleged behavior violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin, prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about employment discrimination and requires them to keep certain employment records.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Prestige Transportation Service, LLC., Case No 1:13-cv-20684-JEM) in the Southern District of Florida only after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation. The agency is seeking class relief for the African-American applicants, back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the discrimination victims, as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent any further discriminatory practices.
"The unfortunate reality is that in the 21st century, black applicants continue to face unlawful discrimination when seeking employment," said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office. "The EEOC will take action when a business violates Title VII by intentionally excluding applicants because of the individual's race or national origin."
Malcolm Medley, director of the EEOC's Miami District Office, added, "Our investigation revealed that Prestige compounded its harm by retaliating against those who stood up to the discrimination and by destroying documents. The EEOC takes allegations of retaliation and document destruction very seriously and will pursue them with the same intensity as the allegations of hiring discrimination."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. The Miami District Office's jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.