- An Illinois-based distributor of alcoholic beverages has agreed to pay $950,000 to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation that found reasonable cause to believe that Breakthru Beverage Illinois made account and territory assignments that resulted in national origin or race discrimination, in violation of federal law.
- The company also agreed to report to the EEOC on the demographics of its Illinois sales force for the next two years, to post notification of the resolution to its Illinois employees; conduct anti-discrimination training for its Illinois sales force; encourage diverse applicants to apply for jobs; revise its anti-discrimination policy to expressly state that it forbids making assignments based on race and/or national origin and to distribute the revised policy to its Illinois sales force; and hire a monitor to track the demographics of employees applying for and receiving offers for specified Illinois sales positions.
- BBI denied that it engaged in any discriminatory or unlawful conduct, according to a statement released by the EEOC announcing the settlement.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination in employment on the basis of, among other things, race and national origin. The law bars discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment, including job assignments. National origin discrimination "involves treating people (applicants or employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background," EEOC says.
Under federal law, it is also illegal for an employer or other covered entity "to use an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of national origin, if it has a negative impact on people of a certain national origin and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business," according to EEOC.
Employers will want to ensure that protected characteristics don't factor into employment decisions. This includes hiring, firing, assignments, leave, pay and more, according to the EEOC's guidance on the subject. Compliance training for managers and supervisors on the requirements of the applicable local, state and federal laws can help to prevent employers from having to grapple with legal violations.