Scoop! EEOC won’t cone-done ice cream company’s alleged pro-Hispanic hiring practices

Ice cream with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and a wafer (cropped)

Nicolas Ettlin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You (soft) served up one pun too many, Eric.

Geez! I might have blown my chance at drafting press releases for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Then again, anything is popsicle when you’re the cream of the crop.

Yeah, that’d be sweet! But, for now, let’s just cut and paste from this existing EEOC press release.

[An ice cream company] will pay $200,000 and furnish comprehensive injunctive relief to settle a race and national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the Fresno-based ice cream company favored Hispanic job applicants over others, including black, white and Asian applicants, for such entry-level positions as warehouse worker and route sales driver. The EEOC further contends that [the company] not only failed to hire, but also discouraged and deterred non-Hispanic applicants from applying for positions. Finally, the EEOC alleged that [the company] fired its sole non-Hispanic driver in Fresno one week after he was hired because of his race and national origin.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sounds like a rocky road for the employer.

Sure, there are limited situations in which national origin may be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). According to the EEOC, Title VII provides an exception to its prohibition of discrimination based on sex, religion, or national origin. This BFOQ recognizes that in some scarce instances, a person’s sex, religion, or national origin may be reasonably necessary to carry out a particular job function in an employer’s business or enterprise’s normal operation. However, race is never a BFOQ for any job.

The EEOC sprinkled in a little more advice about playing favorites, err favorites, when it comes to ice cream company hiring practices.

“In today’s society, people should not have to worry that they will be turned down for a position because of their race or national origin. It is imperative that employers conduct self-audits to make sure their hiring practices ensure equal opportunity for all applicants.”

In plain English, hire the most qualified candidate and don’t dis-cream-inate.

The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Hour – April Schedule

Tomorrow, April 16, 2021, at Noon ET my special guest is employee-rights attorney and mediator Lori Ecker. Lori and I will talk about the next wave of employment lawsuits in 2021 and what businesses can do now to prepare for (and hopefully avoid) them. Interested? Yeah, you are. Click here to register.

On Friday, April 23, from 12-1 PM ET, by popular demand, it’s Beverages and Benefits, where my partners Mark MathisBob Ellerbrock, and Amy Epstein Gluck will take a deep dive into the new U.S. Department of Labor guidance and model notices to support the new COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021You can register for that here.

Friday, April 30, from 12-1 PM ET, my rockstar partner, Susan Warner, will join us to discuss Title III, the Winn-Dixie victory, and proactive steps that your business can take to bulletproof itself against these types of ADA claimsClick here to register.


“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
Contact Information