The Marquez Brothers facility in Fresno off of Highway 99 near Shaw Avenue. Image via Google Earth

published on September 19, 2019 - 2:21 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno’s Marquez Brothers International has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a race discrimination suit alleging it refused to hire non-Hispanics for unskilled positions.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit in 2017, laying out instances where black, white and Asian non-Spanish-speaking job applicants were passed over for less qualified Hispanic applicants. The alleged discrimination is said to have happened at food processing plants in Fresno, Hanford, Sacramento, San Diego and several other states.

In addition to the monetary relief, an EEOC news release said Marquez Brothers has agreed to prevent discrimination in the future, including hiring an external monitor; implementing hiring goals and measures to ensure hiring transparency and diversification; training; reporting; and other significant measures.

In addition, the company has agreed to maintain a centralized tracking system for all complaints of discrimination. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California will maintain jurisdiction of the case during the decree’s three-year term.

Applicants who felt discouraged from applying, or were not hired by Marquez Brothers from 2010 to the present, are asked to contact the EEOC toll-free at 855-725-4456 for possible monetary relief.

The Marquez Brothers locations covered by the settlement include facilities in the following states: California, Colorado, Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah.

“We commend Marquez Brothers for its commitment to providing equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Kings County. “We encourage anyone who may have been affected to come forward and make a claim.”

Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, added, “One of the EEOC’s six national priorities is eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, and this resolution should send a strong message to employers that the EEOC is dedicated to its mission.”

According to its website, Marquez Brothers International, Inc. and its affiliates produce and distribute Mexican-style dairy products, meat items, and canned and dry goods.

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