BOLI settles five racial discrimination cases against G4S Secure Solutions
The Bureau of Labor and Industries recently reached a settlement agreement with a company that provides private security services at Prineville's Facebook data center.
The settlement was reached with G4S Secure Solutions (G4S) regarding five racial discrimination cases filed in 2018 regarding incidents that occurred during the late summer of 2017. There were also allegations of sex discrimination in two of the cases.
One complaint was filed by a Hispanic woman who started working for the security company in February 2017. She alleged that in September of that year, her supervisor reduced her hours from full time to part time and changed her shift as well. She observed that only employees with Hispanic last names were affected by the changes.
Another complaint was by a Hispanic security officer who was hired in July 2016. He alleges that in 2017, his area manager hired new Caucasian employees. In August of that year, a co-worker began referring to all Hispanic workers as the "Mexican mafia."
He reported the derogatory statements to the area manager and soon after, he was told he could no longer work his day shift. The security officer then sent a letter to the company's human resource department regarding the derogatory statements, but he said he never received a response.
Once he began his new graveyard shift, the security officer observed that only employees with Hispanic names had been affected by the change.
Similar complaints were filed by another Hispanic woman who was hired as a SOC operator in February 2017. She alleges that between June and September of that year, she was subjected to racial comments by a co-worker who referred to Hispanic co-workers as the "Mexican mafia" and other derogatory terms.
Reports made to her manager were ignored, and in late August of 2017, she was told she would have to move to graveyard shift to retain her supervisory role. The reason given was that she was supervising family members during the day shift, but she pointed out that several other supervisors working day shift could handle any concerns regarding her family members.
She points out in the complaint that after her demotion, she was replaced by a non-Hispanic male employee.
A fourth complaint involves another Hispanic woman who was hired as a security officer in February 2017. She alleges that in August 2017, co-workers referred to Hispanic workers as the "Mexican mafia." Reports to her manager were reportedly not addressed, and toward the end of August, she was removed from her security duties and placed in the office to work. Her security hours were then given to a Caucasian employee.
The fifth complaint was filed by a Hispanic woman who was hired as a security officer and receptionist in February 2017. During the months of August and September that year, she reports that she was continually harassed by a co-worker who would refer to her in derogatory terms. Reports about the co-worker's behavior were not addressed by her supervisors or by human resources.
The Bureau of Labor and Industries' Civil Rights Division reports that it found substantial evidence in each of the five cases and forwarded them to its administrative prosecution unit for resolution. G4S will pay $595,000 to resolve these cases.
"This settlement highlights the importance of civil rights enforcement in our state," said Val Hoyle, Oregon Labor Commissioner. "Five Oregonians have received justice for the discrimination they experienced. It's illegal to be treated differently or subjected to harassment because of your race, sex or national origin."
Prineville's Facebook data center still receives its private security services from G4S.
"While we do not comment on legal matters related to our vendors, Facebook is committed to racial equity and to providing a safe and open working environment for everyone," said Facebook spokesperson Melanie Roe. "We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind."
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