$165,000 Settlement in Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Food Product Distributor, Training Ordered

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Question:  Would race discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

US Foods, Inc., formerly known as U.S.  Foodservice, Inc., a Rosemont, Ill.-based food product distributor, will pay  $165,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit  filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that US Foods  violated federal law by firing an African-American employee who worked at its  Memphis facility because of his race.   Specifically, the EEOC said, the company discharged the black employee  after he failed to stop a Caucasian driver who reported to work under the  influence of alcohol from making deliveries on his route.  US Foods did not terminate the Caucasian  driver for being under the influence, or another Caucasian safety specialist  who saw the driver at the first stop on his route.  Instead, the company discharged the white  driver later for an unrelated matter.

Race discrimination violates  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-02861) in U.S. District  Court for the Western District of Tennessee after first attempting a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Besides monetary relief, the  18-month consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins US Foods from further  discriminating against employees on the basis of race.  The decree requires training on employee  rights under Title VII and requires US Foods to maintain records of  discriminatory complaints and provide annual reports to the EEOC.  The decree also requires US Foods to post a  notice to all employees about the lawsuit that provides the EEOC's contact  information.

US Foods distributes food  products, cleaning supplies, and food service equipment throughout the  country.  The company employs more than  25,000 associates in more than 60 locations.


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