Ontario warehouse operator, staffing firm sued by feds, accused of creating racially charged, discriminatory workplace – Daily News

on May21
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An Ontario warehouse that distributes medical supplies and pharmaceuticals and a staffing service that recruits its workers have been sued by a federal agency for an alleged pattern of racial harassment and discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit Tuesday alleging that black employees at Cardinal Health’s distribution facility were regularly subjected to racial epithets and degrading comments from co-workers, and the company did nothing to stop it.

The lawsuit also alleges that when some workers did complain, they were fired by Cardinal Health in retaliation. It seeks back pay and compensation for damages for two named plaintiffs and an unknown number of other workers, along with other financial penalties.

AppleOne is listed as a co-defendant in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The staffing firm supplied temporary and temporary-to-permanent workers at the facility and was named as a joint employer.

Officials from Cardinal Health and AppleOne did not return calls seeking comment.

Since at least 2016, the lawsuit states, black workers were regularly subjected to racially derogatory statements and words from co-workers as well as supervisors and managers. The derogatory comments included hateful graffiti in restrooms.

Complaints made to supervisors and human resources officials did not stop this pattern, according to the EEOC.

“Defendant Cardinal Health failed to take prompt and effective remedial action reasonably calculated to end the harassment,” the lawsuit states. AppleOne was also cited in the filing for the same inaction.

Also, black workers claim they were given less-desirable assignments and were denied training opportunities that could have led to advancement or permanent hiring.

“It is important for staffing agencies and employers to understand their responsibilities when an employee reports discrimination or harassment in a joint-employer relationship,” Rosa Viramontes, director of the Los Angeles office of the EEOC said in a statement. “Both entities are responsible to stop and address reported harassment.”

Cardinal Health, based in Dublin, Ohio, is a global company with some 50,000 employees that reportedly took in $130 billion in revenues in 2017.

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