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New York - US Labor Department Sues B&H Photo For Hiring, Pay, Promotion Discrimination; Harassment

Published on: February 27, 2016 08:44 PM
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New York - A lawsuit filed this week by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges that B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. has systematically discriminated against Hispanic employees and female, black and Asian jobseekers at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse.

As a federal contractor, B&H is prohibited by Executive Order 11246 from discriminating in employment on the basis of race, color, sex or national origin and is required to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of employment.

“Federal contractors’ workforces should reflect the diversity of the American people, the people who are ultimately footing the bill for the goods and services that contractors provide to the government,” said OFCCP’s Director Patricia A. Shiu. “B&H fell far short of this responsibility and created deplorable working conditions for employees at its Brooklyn warehouse. This agency is prepared to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that no federal contractors engage in discrimination against women and people of color.”


On its website, the popular photo, video, audio and digital imaging retailer claims to “employ an incredibly diverse group of people.”  During its compliance review, however, OFCCP found that, from January 2011 to January 2013:

B&H’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse exclusively hired Hispanic men into its entry-level laborer job group, contributing to the complete exclusion of female employees at the warehouse and the near exclusion of black and Asian employees at the facility.

B&H promoted and compensated its Hispanic workers at a significantly lower rate than comparable white workers, leading to lower pay, fewer opportunities to advance and a near-total exclusion of Hispanic workers from higher level clerical, managerial and supervisory positions. Hispanic employees were also subjected to racist remarks, degrading comments and harassment at the worksite.

In addition to its findings regarding hiring, compensation and promotion discrimination and harassment, OFCCP found that B&H’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse:

Failed to keep and preserve required personnel and employment records.
Relegated Hispanic warehouse workers to separate, unsanitary and often inoperable restrooms.
Failed to provide designated restroom or changing facilities for females.
Filed with the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the complaint asks the court to enjoin B&H permanently from discriminating against female, black and Asian individuals in hiring, and discriminating against Hispanic individuals in promotions and compensation; and to require B&H to ensure and maintain a working environment free of unlawful harassment, intimidation or coercion. OFCCP is also seeking complete relief for the affected class including lost wages, interest, front wages, salary adjustments, promotions and all other lost benefits of employment and a reform of discriminatory policies.

If B&H fails to provide relief as ordered, OFCCP requests that all its government contracts be canceled and that it be debarred from entering into future federal contracts. Headquartered in Manhattan, B&H has supply contracts with the General Services Administration and the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation valued in excess of $46 million.

OFCCP filed its complaint after determining that it was unable to secure a voluntary agreement from B&H to take corrective action. The full complaint can be viewed here .

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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »


 Feb 27, 2016 at 10:11 PM kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

I know for a fact all of this is true, they should've taken their contracts now.


 Feb 27, 2016 at 11:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

I know for a fact all of this is true, they should've taken their contracts now.

What a real nice guy you must be, di opgarissena naar!


 Feb 28, 2016 at 12:19 AM Moshka Says:

Reply to #1  
kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

I know for a fact all of this is true, they should've taken their contracts now.

Really? You know for a fact? Separate bathrooms for Hispanic workers! I work there, can you tell me where the separate bathrooms for Hispanic employees are? It's B. S. all these claims


 Feb 28, 2016 at 12:38 AM neezoogshoin Says:

Reply to #1  
kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

I know for a fact all of this is true, they should've taken their contracts now.

I always wonder what drives people like you. Is it just jealousy?


 Feb 28, 2016 at 11:42 AM Anonymous Says:

I know they play funny business with pay and raises too... Why do frum men get more than anyone else?


 Feb 28, 2016 at 12:40 PM ComeOn Says:

This is all about them trying to block unionization.
It's a well known tactic to use the labor department to pressure employers.


 Feb 28, 2016 at 09:20 PM BizGuide Says:

We are only talking about $46mil in gross revenue. This is a small freckle for the MULTI-BILLION dollar company. They should let go of the Federal contracts and continue business as usual. It should be run like any other private business and be free to hire whomever they feel comfortable with. They are not discriminating, they are simply hiring people they feel they can trust and they are promoting people who will not try suing them later. They are being sued by the very same type of people that should be turned away in the first place. B&H - please give up the Federal contracts and become the absolute rulers of your own hard-earned company. Don't let yourselves get dragged down by a bunch of Liberals. Look what happened to poor J&R Music World... Take a lesson from it


 Feb 29, 2016 at 04:38 PM heyward Says:

It's the old story. Your good enough..... to hire these guy's that sneaked into our country with the banana boat and come to you begging for a job then they turn on you like a Bull dog. Get a big tug boat and send them right back.


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