Parking Company Laid Off Workers Based on National Origin, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE - LAZ Parking, the second largest parking company in the United States, will pay $155,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a federal national origin discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
EEOC charged that LAZ Parking terminated three long-term employees based on their national origin. When it converted to an automated payment system at its DownUnder Garage in Baltimore, LAZ Parking terminated a Moroccan customer service representative, a Moroccan cashier, and an Ethiopian cashier, each of whom had worked for the company for about six years. The operations manager mocked the accent of one of the cashiers and, after the three terminations, told the cashier that he selected them for lay off because of their "broken English."
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits discrimination based on national origin. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. LAZ Parking Mid-Atlantic, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02963) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $155,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to the terminated employees, the two-year consent decree resolving the case enjoins LAZ Parking from engaging in national origin discrimination. LAZ Parking will distribute guidelines on legitimate business factors to be used when making any layoff decisions to all general managers and human resources employees in the Baltimore area. LAZ Parking will also provide training on Title VII, post the "EEO is the Law" poster, and post an anti-discrimination notice.
"Employment decisions should be based on qualifications, not national origin," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "We are pleased that LAZ Parking joined with us to reach a settlement that compensates these employees and protects other workers from national origin discrimination."
EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, "These long-term employees did their jobs well and were able to communicate with the customers but were laid off based on their national origins or accents- which was unfair and unlawful."
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.