(CBS4) NATICK The federal government is suing Natick-based BJ's Wholesale Club for allegedly discriminating against African-American and Hispanic workers at it's store in Homestead, Florida. The lawsuit claims the workers were subjected to racial slurs and epithets.
According to the lawsuit filed Monday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a manager at the store allegedly made racial and ethnic slurs and insults against at least one Hispanic employee and several African-American workers.
The EEOC claims the slurs created a hostile work environment, a violation of the US Civil Rights act.
The EEOC says it decided to file the lawsuit after trying to reach an agreement with BJ's. When efforts to resolve the complaint failed, the decision was made to sue for money damages and changes in the company's employment policies. The EEOC is also seeking punitive damages.
In a statement released by the EEOC, Delner Franklin-Thomas, regional attorney for the Miami District Office, said, "Many families shop at BJ's and would be shocked to discover it treats its employees this way. All employees are entitled to a workplace free from racism and bigotry."
BJ's e-mailed the following statement to cbs4boston.com Monday afternoon responding to the lawsuit.
"BJ's Wholesale Club takes any allegation of discrimination very seriously and does not tolerate discriminatory behavior of any kind against any Team Member. As this matter is in active litigation, we cannot comment on the specifics of the EEOC's claims."
"We value diversity in our organization, and we are committed to providing a workplace free of discrimination. We will continue to work with the EEOC to resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible."
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