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PRESS RELEASE
4-17-13

Edgewater Japanese Market to Pay $250,000 to Hispanic Employees Paid less Due to National Origin

Mitsuwa Marketplace Violated Law by Paying Hispanic Workers Less Than Others for Identical Jobs, Federal Agency Charged

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mitsuwa Corporation, which does business as Mitsuwa Marketplace, a large Japanese market in Edgewater, N.J., will pay $250,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, since 2005, Mitsuwa has routinely paid Hispanic employees less than non-Hispanics doing the same work because of their national origin. The case stemmed from a discrimination charge from an individual employee who complained of being underpaid because he was Hispanic. An investigation by the EEOC revealed that a class of Hispanic employees was discriminated against in this way over several years.

Discrimination in compensation based on employees' national origin violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark (Civil Action No. 09-CV-04733 [ES][CLW]) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, signed by federal Judge Esther Salas, Mitsuwa will also give pay increases to current Hispanic employees amounting to a combined total of approximately $30,000 per year for three years.

Mitsuwa is enjoined from discriminating against Hispanic employees. The consent decree provides for a monitor who will periodically review Mitsuwa's compensation practices and discrimination complaints, and will report to EEOC. Mitsuwa has also revised its anti-discrimination policies and will train its managers and employees on Title VII, including the prohibition against compensation discrimination based on national origin.

"Employers everywhere should know that Title VII insures that they cannot pay employees less based on their national origin, just as they cannot discriminate in compensation based on sex or race," said EEOC District Director Kevin Berry.

"The EEOC stands ready to assist employees who are being undercompensated compared to similarly situated co-workers simply because of their national origin," added New York Regional Attorney Elizabeth Grossman.

Eliminating discriminatory policies affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws, or who may be reluctant or unable to exercise their rights, is a national priority identified in EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan. These policies can include disparate pay.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.