Hispanics Subjected to Harassment and Repeated Verbal Abuse, Federal Agency Charges
LAS VEGAS – Simon Property Group, Inc., a nationwide commercial property management company, violated federal law by subjecting Hispanic employees to national origin discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges in a lawsuit filed today. Simon Property Group owns and/or manages various shopping malls throughout the country, including the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where the EEOC said the discriminatory acts took place.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a class of Hispanic housekeepers were subjected to a hostile work environment while performing custodial and janitorial duties at the Forum Shops. The harassment began in 2005, when the housekeeping shift lead was hired, and ended when he was terminated for reasons related to the harassment. The housekeeping shift lead referred to housekeepers and other Latino employees as “wetbacks,” “tacos,” and “burritos” and repeatedly told them to “go back to Mexico” – among other things. He also told the Latinos that Mexicans have “inferior intelligence and capability in comparison to whites, and that is why whites are in power.”
All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the suit (EEOC v. Simon Property Group, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:09-CV-01178) in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada after first attempting a voluntary settlement. The EEOC seeks lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief to prevent and correct any future workplace discrimination.
EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Park of the Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction for southern Nevada, said, “The abuse of Latino workers will not be tolerated by the EEOC. We will continue to aggressively enforce laws prohibiting national origin discrimination and protect the rights of its victims. All workers have the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and daily harassment."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on July 2, 2009.
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