Accused by the Department of Labor of paying its Hispanic warehouse employees significantly less and refusing to promote them, the photography megastore B&H agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle the claims.
“We are pleased that B&H entered into this agreement, and has committed to ensuring that their workers will receive equitable wages and opportunities, and enjoy a workplace that promotes equal employment opportunity,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey Rogoff. The settlement will provide financial relief to more than 1,300 employees.
The company also agreed to hire a consultant to overhaul working conditions at its Navy Yard warehouse, as well as train its executives on the basics of equal opportunity, the DOL reported.
This is not the first time B&H, started and run by Hasidic Jews, has run into trouble for discriminating against Hispanics. In 2007, the company settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, after the EEOC took B&H to court, claiming it paid its Hispanic employees significantly smaller wages and refrained from promoting them. The company settled at the time as well, paying $4.3 million.
“Employees are entitled to work in an environment free of pay disparity and discrimination due to a person’s national origin,” EEOC New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis said at the time. “Every individual deserves the freedom to compete in the workplace on a fair and level playing field.”
Apparently, some lessons bear repeating.