U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Meeting of June 22, 2011 - Disparate Treatment in Hiring
Good morning. My name is Jeanette Wilkins. I was the Charging Party in the EEOC’s race hiring case against Scrub. I have been asked to share with you my personal story in connection with the Scrub case.
I applied for a janitorial position with Scrub in August of 2005. At the time that I applied, I had been out of work for about a year. I had been laid off from my previous job where I had performed cleaning duties for almost five years. Right around August 10, 2005, I saw a job in Hoy, a Spanish-language newspaper, that Scrub was hiring for janitorial positions. The advertisement said that Scrub was looking to hire 15 men and 15 women, and directed applicants to apply in person at Scrub’s office in Chicago. Because I was out of work and had janitorial experience, I was interested in the job. I told a friend of mine that Scrub was hiring. She is also African-American.
On August 10, 2005, I went to Scrub’s office to fill out an application. While I was there, there was another applicant filling out an application. She appeared to be Hispanic. When the Hispanic woman turned in her application, she was asked to stay for an interview. They would not give me an application and told me that I needed a birth certificate to apply. So I went home and came back with my birth certificate. I was then told that they didn’t have any more applications. When I gave them my resume, the receptionist told me that Scrub would call me if it was interested in me. I thought it was odd that I was not asked to stay for an interview since I knew that I was qualified for the job.
My friend whom I had told about the job went to Scrub’s office the next day. She told me that she had a similar experience. The receptionist took her application and told her that someone would call her if Scrub was interested in her. While she was there, there were four Hispanic women and one Hispanic man filling out applications. All five of the other applicants were asked to stay for an interview.
Based on my experience and the experience of my friend, I believed that Scrub discriminated against me based on my race. I was qualified for the job, they had 15 spots to fill, and they seemed to be interviewing only Hispanics. I called Scrub to ask why I was not interviewed. The person who answered the phone told me that she could not discuss the matter.
Feeling that I had been discriminated against, I went to the EEOC on August 16, 2005 to file a charge of discrimination. I was interviewed by an EEOC investigator and kept informed of the EEOC’s investigation.
I learned that the EEOC was going to file a lawsuit in federal court and seek relief not only for me but for other applicants that had been denied employment by Scrub because of their race. During the course of the litigation, I spoke with the EEOC attorneys about the status of the case. In November of 2010, I learned that the case was settling. In addition to receiving a monetary sum under the settlement agreement, I was offered the chance to be considered for a job at Scrub. Unfortunately, I was unable to accept this position, but I appreciated the offer.