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EEOC files racial discrimination lawsuit against Panda Express

Earlier this week, we wrote that Starbucks recently settled a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a woman who was fired for having dwarfism. Such actions are illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The EEOC also frequently files lawsuits against companies who violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act by engaging in race discrimination. Recently, a lawsuit was brought against a Panda Express restaurant. The popular fast food chain has 1,200 locations nationwide, including many stores in Florida.

According to the lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that managers at a store in West San Jose gave preferential treatment to Asian employees while making Latino employees do more menial and embarrassing tasks.

In a public statement about the case, the EEOC said: "Hispanic workers who worked as counter help were required to clean the bathroom, tables and counters, while Asian employees were permitted to simply stand around and watch."

Latino employees were also allegedly given fewer hours and were disciplined more frequently and harshly by management. One Latino employee at the restaurant said he felt ashamed to have Asian employees watch him do work they did not have to do. He added: "For months, (the manager) treated me like a worthless employee."

The manager's race and ethnicity have not been publicly announced. It is unclear if the manager has racial ties with either Asians or Latinos, but it ultimately does not matter. If managers are engaging in any racial discrimination, either through unfair double standards or preferential treatment, these actions are both illegal and immoral.

Source: Mercury News, "Feds: San Jose Panda Express made Hispanic employees clean toilets while Asian workers watched," Mike Rosenberg, Aug. 18, 2011

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