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March 30, 2009
Electronics Retailer Settles Suit Alleging It Paid Latino Workers Less
A federal judge has given final approval to a settlement between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and B & H Foto and Electronics Corp. (B & H), the federal agency announced.

The settlement resolves a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of 149 Hispanic warehouse workers at one of the largest retail sellers of photographic, computer, and electronic equipment in the New York metropolitan area.

The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that B & H paid Hispanics in its warehouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn less than non-Hispanic workers and failed to promote them or provide health benefits because of their national origin.

Under the court-approved settlement, B & H agreed to cooperate with the EEOC in a claims process to distribute $4.3 million in to 149 employees.

Under the settlement, B & H also agreed to equalize the wages of Hispanic employees to their non-Hispanic coworkers, conduct employer training, adopt an anti-discrimination policy, post EEOC notices, report to the EEOC, and to be monitored by the EEOC for the following five years.

In settling the lawsuit, the company continued to deny any wrongdoing.

In fiscal year 2008, the EEOC received a record 10,601 national origin discrimination complaints nationwide, an increase of 13% from the prior year and up 50 % from about 7,000 charge filings a decade ago.

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