Matrix Integrated Facility, one of the Philadelphia area’s largest commercial janitorial firms, will pay $450,000 to 15 former employees to settle EEOC race discrimination and retaliation charges.
Problems began when a client in Concordville asked Matrix not to send black workers to its facility. Barbara Palermi, a white supervisor, refused to honor the client’s request. The company terminated her for continuing to send black workers to the Concordville facility.
The client then began insisting that black workers sit at the back of the cafeteria during their breaks and eventually refused to allow them in the cafeteria at all. Eventually, Matrix fired all the black workers and replaced them with non-black workers.
In addition to the monetary damages, Matrix agreed to publicize the settlement, report any further racial discrimination charges directly to the EEOC and train supervisors on how to avoid violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
- In interviews, be wary of using 'points only' scoring system
- Never link absences to employee's disabled relative
- Use exit interviews to identify patterns of supervisors' hidden discrimination
- When bias goes companywide, class-action lawsuits will follow
- Despite EPA's gender-equity requirements, you do have discretion to set wide salary