Plastic Manufacture settles suit for $475,000
GREENBAY, WI – Plastics, Inc., a Green Bay based metal and plastic product manufacture has settled a lawsuit filed against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging the Plastic’s firm discriminated against their employees based on their national origin through English only tests. Plastic’s, Inc. settled the case for $475,000 to be paid to seventeen employees. In a consent decree signed by Judge William Griesbach that prohibits Plastic’s from discriminating and retaliating against its employees. Further, the consent decree provides that Plastic’s will post notices of the settlement, report its hires, terminations and national origin discrimination complaints periodically to the EEOC; and it must train its managers and employees regarding Title VII discrimination.

According to the suit, Plastic’s discriminated against a group of Hmong (an ethnic group of individuals form China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) and Hispanic employees when it fired them because of their national origin. The suit was filed in the EEOC’s Chicago office on behalf of a group of 22 employees. The company fired these individuals because they lacked sufficient English skills, despite an investigation revealing that speaking English was not a necessary requirement to perform their job duties. In May of 2016, Chief District Judge Griersbach stated that, as a matter of law the ability to speak English is not necessarily a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason to fire employees who do not need to speak English to do their jobs and Plastic’s was unable to provide substantial justification for firing them based on their English ability.

Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964 prohibits individuals from discriminating against individuals based on their race or national origin. National origin includes customs, culture and language. Many companies get around this type of discrimination by implementing “English proficiency” tests which forces individuals to demonstrate their proficiency in English. These types of test are not discriminatory in themselves, however, when they are implemented as a requirement for a job in which speaking English is not a requirement to perform the job it becomes discriminatory. Here, Plastic’s used the English only test to weed out individuals of Hmong and Hispanic descent. These qualifications had little to do with the actual performance of the job, in fact many of the individuals who were terminated had good performance evaluation scores. This creates a prima facie case of discrimination which drove Plastic’s to settle the suit.

The experienced New York sexual harassment attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC have years of experience litigating claims based on national origin discrimination. We work closely with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, the EEOC and state-level agencies to ensure our clients get the representation they deserve. We have recovered hundreds of thousands in damages for our clients who have been discriminated against based on their national origin. If you feel you have been discriminated against based on your national origin, please give our talented attorneys a call at (800) 807-2209.