Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Clifton Store Unlawfully Fired Only High-Level African American Manager, EEOC Charged

NEWARK, N.J. – Shopper's Vineyard, a wine and liquor store in Clifton, N.J., agreed to pay $60,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC said in its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey (Civil Action No. 08-cv-1234 [DMC]), that Bertram Irving of Passaic, N.J., was the only African American front-line manager at the Clifton store. Shopper's Vineyard told Irving in 2006 that he was being laid off because of economic reasons, but according to the EEOC's lawsuit, Irving was actually laid off because of his race. Shopper's Vineyard retained white managers with less tenure and experience and hired many new employees, including four new white managers, within the year after Irving was laid off, the suit charged. Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The five-year consent decree settling the case requires Shopper's Vineyard to pay $60,000 to Irving and institute new anti-discrimination policies and procedures. The store will appoint an equal employment opportunity coordinator to insure compliance with Title VII and other anti-discrimination statutes; train managers regarding Title VII requirements on a regular basis; post a notice to employees at the store about the decree; and provide reports to the EEOC and permit the EEOC to monitor its compliance with the decree.

"It is important given today's economic climate that employers remember that one of the central goals of Title VII is to prevent racially motivated employment decisions," said Spencer H. Lewis, director of the EEOC's New York District. "When making layoff decisions, employers must make sure they are complying with laws that prohibit discrimination."
Jeffrey Burstein, the EEOC's trial attorney who litigated the case, added, "The EEOC is committed to the elimination of racial discrimination in the workplace, as evidenced by our vigorous efforts on behalf of thousands of discrimination victims like this every year."

The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimin­ation laws in the workplace. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's web site at

This page was last modified on March 4, 2009.