Things really aren’t going too well for B&H Photo Video, one of the major players in photography retail. A few months ago they were accused of mistreating their workers and being discriminatory, then the workers protested and unionized. Now they find themselves being sued by the US government for discrimination.
The lawsuit was announced by the US B&H Photo Video on Thursday, with accusations that B&H violated federal requirements at their camera gear warehouse in Brooklyn.
The government said that B&H have systematically been discriminatory towards their Hispanic employees, as well as against female, black, and Asian jobseekers at the warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Because B&H are a federal contractor they are forbidden from discriminating with their employment strategies and are required by law to use affirmative action to create an equal workplace.
Patricia A. Shiu, the Director the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said that B&H shirked this responsibility and instead created terrible working conditions for the employees in their Brooklyn warehouse.
A review was conducted on B&H between January 2011 and January 2013 that provided the government with a number of serious accusations against the company.
One claim is that B&H would segregate their restrooms and make Hispanic employees use a separate bathroom; bathrooms that would be unsanitary and, in some cases, completely inoperable.
The lawsuit levied also claims that B&H would only hire Hispanic men in to their team of entry-level labor positions; a move that excludes women and people from other ethnic minorities. They would also compensate Hispanic workers less than white ones, harass their Hispanic workers, fail to keep adequate records, fail to provide women with their own designation washrooms and changing rooms, and more.
The complaint was filed by the OFCCP after they failed to get an agreement from B&H that corrective action would be taken. The government is demanding that B&H provide relief for workers affected by the claims. If B&H fails to do so they could lose their government contracts, worth up to $46 million, and never receive any in the future.