Winner Ford to Pay $150,000 To Settle EEOC National Origin Discrimination Suit
Cherry Hill Car Dealership Paid Its Chinese Technicians Less than Non-Chinese Technicians, Federal Agency Charged
PHILADELPHIA - Chas. S. Winner, Inc., doing business as Winner Ford of Cherry Hill and Winner Ford, will pay $150,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency recently announced.
The EEOC charged that since 2010, Winner Ford paid its Chinese emergency and accessory installation (EAI) technicians a lower starting wage and hourly wage than non-Chinese EAI technicians at its Cherry Hill, NJ location. Winner Ford paid starting Chinese EAI technicians up to $3 less per hour than non-Chinese EAI Technicians, even though they did the same work and some of the non-Chinese technicians had less or no relevant experience. The EEOC said that when a Chinese EAI technician complained about the wage disparity, he was reprimanded, and told that if he sought legal advice, he would be out of a job.
Such alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which makes it illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of national origin or to retaliate against individuals who complain about discrimination. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Chas. S. Winner, Inc. d/b/a Winner Ford of Cherry Hill d/b/a Winner Ford, Civil Action No. 1:16-06137) in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $150,000 in lost wages and other damages to the class members, the three-year consent decree prohibits Winner Ford from discriminating based on national origin, including in compensation, or engaging in retaliation. Winner Ford will implement and disseminate an anti-discrimination policy to all employees, applicants and new hires. Winner Ford will also provide training on federal EEO laws to all managers and employees involved in setting wages or handling discrimination complaints. It will also post a notice regarding the settlement.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "Workers deserve equal pay for equal work. We are pleased that Winner Ford worked with us to address these pay disparities and that it will take affirmative measures to ensure that no workers are paid less based on national origin."
EEOC District Director Kevin Berry said, "Strong enforcement of the pay laws is one of the Commission's priority issues. The EEOC provides resources, including outreach and training, to assist employers in abiding by these laws, but we will litigate when an employer makes unlawful employment decisions."
Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers is of one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.