Report: Trend of Black versus Hispanic Hiring Discrim Cases Growing

January 24, 2006 ( - An increasing trend facing employers these days is the willingness of African-American employees to turn to the courts to settle allegations they were discriminated against in favor of Hispanics.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the instances of Hispanic versus black discrimination lawsuits represents a difference from years past when such litigation typically involved black employees suing over allegations of preferential treatment for whites.

“There used to be a reluctance to bring cases against other minorities,” Anna Park, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regional attorney, told the newspaper. “It’s no longer a white-black paradigm. This is a new trend.”

For example, the EEOC announced it secured a $180,000 settlement from Zenith National Insurance Corp., a national workers-compensation specialist, to be divided among 10 blacks who applied for a mailroom job at its headquarters in Woodland Hills, California. The job was offered to a Latino man with no mailroom experience, according to the EEOC.

In another case, the EEOC secured a $110,000 settlement for seven black applicants of a pork processing company who were turned down for warehouse jobs. The EEOC said that it found that the company was almost exclusively hiring Hispanics for warehouse, production, and packing jobs.

California – where Hispanic immigrants have been moving into black working-class pockets of the state’s cities for decades – is at the leading edge of this growing trend, according to the Journal. As Latinos migrate eastward, to such states as Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina, the competition with blacks for blue-collar jobs is likely to grow.

Hispanics have become the second-largest population group in the US – ahead of African-Americans but behind Caucasians – thanks to the influx of immigrants from Latin America. In some cities, like Los Angeles, collaboration between African-American and Latino leaders is on the rise when it is mutually beneficial.

But as Latinos grab the attention of marketers and gain political clout, many African-Americans feel that their influence is waning, and that the decline is disproportionate and unfair, the newspaper said.