Just because you make Mexican food does not entitle you to hire only Hispanic workers

Workers don’t have to be Hispanic to store and load Mexican food.

In a reversal of the normal race discrimination case the EEOC has announced it is suing a manufacturer of Mexican foods for discriminating against non-Hispanic applicants in its hiring processes.

The case

On January 12, 2017 the EEOC filed a discrimination lawsuit against Marquez Brothers International, Inc. and its affiliates for favoring less-qualified Hispanic job applicants over all other races (including black, white and Asian applicants) in unskilled positions. According to the press release the;

EEOC further contends that Marquez Brothers discouraged non-Hispanic applicants from applying for open positions, asked applicants if they spoke Spanish even when speaking Spanish was not a job requirement, and otherwise deterred non-Hispanic applicants.”

The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, benefits, and compensatory and punitive damages for a class of non-Hispanic applicants, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further discrimination by the companies.

Anti-discrimination versus favoritism

There are very few situations where purposeful discrimination is acceptable. In the early days of the CRA of 1964 when quotas were put in place to make up for egregious acts of prior discrimination is one example. Affirmative Action Plans were a company is trying to make up for an “unbalance” workforce is another.  Finally a BFOQ or bona fide occupational qualification is available in limited circumstances. Just favoring one race because of who you are and because of your product is not acceptable.
The EEOC did try to conciliate with the company, but that effort was turned down. We will now have to wait and see what the final settlement will be. My guess is, unless there is some technicality that saves the company, they will lose. After all, to drive the forklift hauling Hispanic products does not mean you need to be Hispanic.

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