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EEOC and ABM Industries Settle Discrimination and Retaliation Case for Latino Workers

Janitorial Company to Pay $180,000 and Train Supervisors

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a lawsuit against ABM Industries (NYSE:ABM), a nationwide janitorial services firm. The suit alleged that supervisors at the company discriminated against Latino janitors working at several commercial buildings in downtown San Francisco by giving them less preferable assignments despite their seniority, removing them from long favored positions and other actions. The suit also alleged that ABM retaliated against some of these employees after they filed charges with the EEOC. ABM denied the allegations contained in the lawsuit, but agreed to settle the case following a court-ordered settlement conference.

Under the terms of the consent decree approved by United States Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman (EEOC v. ABM Industries, Inc., Civ. No. CV09-4593 BZ), ABM will pay $180,000 in damages, and will institute measures to help prevent future national origin discrimination and retaliation, including annual anti-discrimination and diversity training for all supervisors and forepersons; annual notices to all employees in English, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese, on workplace diversity and their right to a workplace free from discrimination and retaliation; and refresher training for its human resources staff.

EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “These were serious allegations of discrimination. Census figures show that 34.4% of the San Francisco population was born outside the United States, and this large immigrant population is strongly reflected in ABM’s janitorial workforce. Under the decree, ABM will train its employees in the value of this diversity and affirms its obligations not to discriminate. Furthermore, performance evaluations of managers and supervisors will include evaluation of their effectiveness in preventing discrimination and retaliation as well as their ability to manage diversity and deal effectively with employees of all races and national origins. We are pleased that ABM worked with EEOC to reach this resolution.”

EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, “We commend the workers who came to us and filed charges, who recognized a problem in their workplace and were willing to come to the EEOC to seek to remedy it. Their coming forward will result in positive changes in the workplace.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at