NC Supermarket Accused of Firing Workers to Hire Hispanics

August 4, 2006 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a federal discrimination complaint in US District Court in Charlotte, North Carolina against a supermarket chain, claiming three longtime employees in one store were forced out or fired to replace them with Hispanic workers.

class=”NormalWeb1″>The Charlotte Observer reports that the EEOC accused Compare Foods of forcing out one worker and firing two others in March and April 2004, replacing them with Hispanic workers to appeal more strongly to its customer base. According to the Observer, the Charlotte store and other Compare Foods markets cater heavily to Latino customers.

class=”NormalWeb1″>In its complaint, the EEOC also claimed Compare store management reduced hours for meat cutter Eugene Gates, making conditions so unbearable for the employee that he quit, according to the Observer. Additionally, the complaint alleged meat wrapper Bernice Grier, another black employee, and market manager Thomas McCoy, a white employee, were fired because of national origin.

class=”NormalWeb1″> “As our nation undergoes demographic shifts, employers must be mindful not to target any specific group for discrimination because they prefer workers of a different race or nationality,” the EEOC’s Charlotte Regional Attorney Lynette Barnes said in a statement, according to theDurham , North Carolina Herald-Sun .

class=”NormalWeb1″>The EEOC said it filed its complaint after failing to reach an agreement with Compare Foods, according to the news reports, and seeks back pay and unspecified compensatory damages for the three former employees.