Lawler Foods, a large bakery out of Humble, TX, violated federal law by engaging in a pattern or practice of failing to hire black and non-Hispanic applicants for entry-level positions in its facility. A lawsuit was filed back on December 16, 2014 in the Southern District of Texas. In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Lawler failed to hire black and other non-Hispanic applicants for jobs, and by using hiring practices, including word-of-mouth recruiting and advertising a Spanish-language preference, that had an adverse disparate impact on black and other non-Hispanic applicants without any business justification. Evidence also showed that non-Hispanic applicants generally had more relevant working experience and education than the Hispanic applicants Lawler hired. Lawler settled and will now have to pay $1,042,000.00 as part of the settlement to the class members in the lawsuit. In addition to the monetary claims awareded, and as part of the consent decree, Lawler will also do the following:
- Seek to hire black and other non-Hispanic job applicants for production jobs;
- Conduct self-assessment of its hiring to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the consent decree;
- Conduct employee training to further its non-discrimination commitment; and,
- Designate an internal leader to prioritize compliance with the requirements of the consent decree.
EEOC Houston District Director Rayford O. Irvin said, “Eliminating barriers in hiring is a high priority for EEOC. We trust that this settlement will serve as an example to all employers that this agency takes race discrimination seriously and will vigorously protect people’s rights to challenge discrimination. Employers must focus only on the qualifications of an individual when making hiring decisions.”