NEW YORK, NY – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has entered into a consent decree with B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. to resolve allegations of systemic hiring, compensation, and promotion discrimination, as well as harassment, at the company’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse.
The decree settles allegations that B&H Foto discriminated against female as well as black and Asian job seekers by hiring only Hispanic men for entry-level positions. In addition, there were allegations that Hispanic shipping workers were paid significantly less than comparable workers and denied promotion to higher level positions. There were also allegations that Hispanic workers were routinely subjected to harassing conduct and had unequal access to restroom facilities, and the company failed to take corrective action when confronted with employee complaints.
“Federal contractors who benefit from taxpayers’ dollars are required to treat their employees fairly, or risk losing their government contracts,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff. “We are pleased that B&H Foto 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.”
Under the terms of the decree, the Manhattan photo, video, audio, and digital imaging retailer has agreed to pay $3,220,000 in back wages and other monetary relief to more than 1,300 affected class members. B&H also agreed to hire a workplace consultant to help correct its employment practices and workplace conduct at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse, as well as its future warehouse in Florence, New Jersey. The company also agreed to provide its managers with annual training on equal opportunity principles and prevention of workplace harassment.
As a federal contractor, B&H Foto is prohibited by Executive Order 11246 from discriminating in employment on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin.
The matter was investigated by the Northeast Regional Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Attorneys Sudwiti Chanda, Allison Bowles, Dustin Saldarriaga, and Summer Silversmith of the Department’s New York Regional Solicitor’s Office litigated and negotiated the resolution of the case.
In addition to the Executive Order, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors, and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed or disclosed their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations.
For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/. If you think you may be one of the applicants eligible for back pay or job opportunities from this settlement, or may know someone who is, please visit the OFCCP Class Member Locator at: https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML. There you will find information about this and other OFCCP settlements.
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Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, U.S. Department of Labor v. B&H Foto & Electronics Corp.
Docket number: 2016-OFC-00004