The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
7-15-09

MAJOR CHICAGO CLEANING SERVICES PROVIDER SUED BY EEOC FOR RACE DISCRIMINATION

African American Employees Almost Unknown at Scrub, Inc., Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO – Scrub, Inc., a Chicago janitorial services provider, violated federal law by discriminating against African Americans in hiring, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a race discrimination lawsuit announced today.

The EEOC’s administrative investigation which preceded the lawsuit revealed that although African American workers were a significant segment of Scrub’s labor market and applied for jobs in large numbers, they consistently made up less than two percent of Scrub’s work force.

Scrub provides janitorial services to the airline industry (at O’Hare International Airport), the hospitality industry and private schools.

Race discrimination in hiring violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Scrub, Inc., Civil Action No. 09 Cc 4228) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division; the case was assigned to District Judge Suzanne Conlon, Before filing, EEOC first attempted to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

“This employer’s hiring practices systematically screened out numerous qualified black victims, and we are suing to seek justice on their behalf,” EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said.”

The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Scrub’s discrim­ination victims. The agency also seeks injunctive relief, including rightful-place hiring of African Americans, training, and instituting policies, practices and programs which provide for equal employment opportunity for black applicants and workers.

John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, said, “Assuring the freedom to compete for jobs on a level playing field is one of the fundamental components of the EEOC’s mission. Race discrimination makes free and fair competition impossible, and such discrimination is prohibited by the laws we are charged with enforcing.”

John P. Rowe, director of the EEOC Chicago District Office, said, “The EEOC made good-faith efforts to remedy the situation through voluntary conciliation. The agency has now determined that we need to move to the next step provided by law and challenge the discrimination in court.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.

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.


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