African-American Female Buyer Held to Unequal Standard, Federal Agency Charges
SAN FRANCISCO —Longs Drugs violated federal law by discriminating against an African-American female employee and firing her shortly after she reported the discrimination to human resources, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The lawsuit also names CVS Caremark as a defendant because CVS bought Longs in August 2008 after the alleged discrimination occurred and is liable as Longs’ successor.
The EEOC asserts that Marcia Guaman, who worked as a buyer at Longs Drugs’ general office in Antioch, Calif., was treated very differently by her supervisor than her colleagues who were not black and female. (Guaman was hired in January 2007 by Longs.) For example, Guaman received verbal and written warnings for her performance numbers, while white female co-workers with lower scores did not face any disciplinary actions. Also, the EEOC said, the supervisor gave white co-workers permission for vacation days but ignored Guaman’s earlier requests for the same days. Within a few months after Guaman complained to human resources about the differential treatment, she was discharged from her position.
Race and sex discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed this suit only after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation. The suit seeks monetary damages for Guaman, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the work site and other injunctive relief.
EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, "Employees should be treated fairly, regardless of race or gender. This case should alert employers to the dangers of allowing bias to distort what should be an even-handed and fair application of company rules and measures."
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado stated, "To count being black and being female as two strikes against a worker, without giving her the same opportunities to succeed as her co-workers – is unjust, illegal and undermines our goal of a fair workplace."
According to its website, www.cvscaremark.com, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Caremark and Longs Drugs operate more than 7,000 retail pharmacy stores in 43 states. CVS Caremark, a corporation established in 1963, is the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States .
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.