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PRESS RELEASE
10-16-07

EEOC AND B & H REACH $4.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION CASE

Hispanic Employees Paid Less Than Non-Hispanics, Denied Promotion and Health Benefits, Federal Agency Says

NEW YORKThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed a complaint and entered into a consent decree in federal district court with B & H Foto and Electronics Corp., resolving a national origin discrimination case on behalf of Hispanic workers at one of the largest retail sellers of photographic, computer and electronic equipment in the metropolitan area.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alleged that B & H paid Hispanics in its warehouses less than non-Hispanic workers and failed to promote them or provide them health benefits based on their national origin (EEOC v. B & H Foto and Electronics Corp., No. 07- CV-9241). The court filed complaint is resolved simultaneously through the voluntary settlement of this matter by consent decree under which B & H agrees to comply with the requirements of Title VII; equalize the wages of Hispanic employees to their non-Hispanic coworkers; and to work with the EEOC in a claims process to distribute $4.3 million in monetary relief to individuals who were paid less, not promoted, or denied benefits because they are Hispanic.

“We commend B & H for working cooperatively with us to resolve this matter without protracted litigation,” said EEOC New York Trial Attorney Louis Graziano. “We encourage other employers to follow B & H’s example of resolving this case expeditiously and in good faith.”

The lawsuit and consent decree are filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The decree, in addition to proving for distribution of the multi-million dollar settlement fund, also requires employer training, notice posting, adoption of an anti-discrimination policy, reporting to the EEOC, and monitoring by the EEOC for the following five years.

EEOC New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis, said: “Employees are entitled to work in an environment free of pay disparity and discrimination due to a person’s national origin. Every individual deserves the freedom to compete in the workplace on a fair and level playing field.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov