Diversity & Inclusion

Cell Company to Pay $435,000 for Unequal Wages

A New York-based company that refurbishes cell phones at its factory in Long Island will pay $435,000 to settle a wage discrimination and retaliation suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency charged that First Wireless Group, Inc., engaged in a pattern or practice of race and/or national origin discrimination against a class of Hispanic workers by paying them less for doing the same job as Asian employees and by firing those who complained about the unlawful pay disparity.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, after a group of former Hispanic employees became aware that Asian employees were being paid $1.50 to $2.00 or more per hour for performing the same work, they circulated a petition asking for equal pay. Rather than looking into the employees’ complaints, the EEOC said, First Wireless responded by firing them and others they believed were involved.

The settlement requires that First Wireless pay $435,000 to a class of victims who came forward and testified about their discriminatory treatment. The company must also take substantial steps to prevent future workplace discrimination, including posting a remedial notice, ensuring that it has a compensation system in place that does not discriminate, and training its managers, supervisors, and HR on federal laws that prohibit discrimination. First Wireless also revised its discrimination policy and complaint procedure and will be distributing it to all its employees. The company is also enjoined from discriminating against anyone on the basis of his or her race or national origin and from retaliating against anyone who complains about discrimination.

Police Department to Pay $450,000 for Age Bias

Nassau County on Long Island will pay $450,000 and has agreed to significant injunctive relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of several police officers in the Marine Bureau. In its lawsuit, the EEOC asserted that Nassau County discriminated against Lawrence Coleman, Arthur D’Alessandro, Robert Macaulay, and Joseph Petrella (charging parties) in violation of the Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA). Specifically, the EEOC states that on or about July 27, 2006, the county transferred the charging parties out of their Marine Bureau positions and into precincts that were less desirable and replaced them with younger officers.

As a result of the discriminatory transfers, Coleman and Macaulay were forced out of their jobs (constructively discharged) and D’Alessandro and Petrella continued to work in precincts that were less favorable to them. The charging parties’ files contained numerous positive commendations from the public throughout their employment with Nassau County. Moreover, their files contained no negative performance evaluations prior to their transfer or at any time.

The consent decree resolving the litigation provides $450,000 in total for the charging parties as well as injunctive relief, including anti-discrimination training for more than 400 supervisors and managers in the Nassau County Police Department.