U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chicago Janitorial Services Company Failed to Recruit and Hire African Americans, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced this morning that a federal magistrate judge in Chicago has today entered a $3 million consent decree ending litigation by the EEOC against a janitorial services company, Scrub, Inc. of Chicago.
The EEOC’s lawsuit, which was filed June 19, 2009, charged that Scrub had failed to recruit African-American applicants and failed to hire black applicants for entry-level janitorial positions. Scrub is a privately held company which holds contracts to provide janitorial services at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
The EEOC brought its lawsuit after its administrative investigation revealed that substantial numbers of African-Americans were applying to Scrub, but being denied the opportunity to work because of racial discrimination. The investigation revealed that Scrub relied on a subjective decision-making process without clear objective criteria for hiring employees.
In addition to providing for the distribution of $3 million in monetary relief to victims of discrimination, the consent decree requires significant injunctive relief. The decree prohibits the company from discriminating in the future and mandates the hiring of certain claimants who still want jobs at Scrub. The EEOC said that approximately 550 African-American applicants may receive relief under the decree.
“Stopping race discrimination in hiring is one of the basic objectives the EEOC was created to address 45 years ago,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “Unfortunately, there is a continuing need for law enforcement work in this area. The consent decree in Scrub makes a very important contribution to that work, by providing job opportunities to qualified applicants who were denied them in the past, and requiring that the company take steps to reform its hiring practices in the future.”
John Rowe, director of the EEOC Chicago District Office, said, “We are pleased that this case was able to be resolved with Scrub. The consent decree will ensure that the federal laws against discrimination are followed and that all future applicants, regardless of their race or national origin, will be given the consideration that they deserve.”
The decree has additional measures to prevent discrimination including that Scrub revise its hiring policy, use its best efforts to reach certain hiring goals of African-Americans, train its human resource staff on the law prohibiting race discrimination, and hire an outside monitor to review its compliance with the decree. Scrub is also required to increase its recruitment efforts in the African-American community.
John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the Chicago District Office, said, “The EEOC continues to vigorously protect the rights of the American worker to be free from discrimination. These rights extend to applicants for open positions. Especially in these tough economic times, companies must ensure that applicants are considered based on their merit and not their race or national origin.”
The consent decree was entered this morning by Magistrate Judge Susan Cox of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. The EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC v. Scrub, Inc., N.D. Illinois No 09-Cv-4228, was filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after the agency exhausted its efforts to voluntarily conciliate the matter with the company.
In addition to Hendrickson, EEOC is represented by Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason and Trial Attorneys Laurie Elkin, Ann Henry and Brandi Davis. The EEOC Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.