EEOC Sues FAPS, Inc. For Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Automotive Port Processing Company Fails to Hire African-Americans and Asks Improper Medical Questions on Applications, Federal Agency Charges

NEWARK, N.J. -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a workplace discrimination suit on 06/17/2010 against FAPS, Inc., an automotive port processor, charging that the company has engaged in an ongoing pattern or practice of race discrimination against African-Americans in recruitment and hiring. The suit also charges that FAPS has made improper pre-employment disability-related inquiries of applicants. Both these alleged practices violate federal law.

According to the EEOC’s suit, EEOC v. FAPS, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, FAPS has had, and continues to have, a statistically significant smaller percentage of black employees in entry-level positions than would be expected given the relevant labor market in the area where FAPS is located. FAPS maintains more than 250 acres and 575,000 square feet of under-roof processing at its terminal complex which adjoins Port Newark, Port Elizabeth and a freight rail terminal.

The EEOC contends that instead of advertising job openings, FAPS has almost exclusively utilized word-of-mouth recruiting for its hiring of employees for entry-level positions, which has resulted in a statistically significantly smaller percentage of black applicants for those jobs. In addition, FAPS refused to hire qualified African-American applicants who did apply for entry-level positions because of their race, instead hiring less qualified or similarly qualified non-black applicants for such positions. FAPS, Inc. falsely told black applicants that no such positions were available when, in fact, the defendant was hiring non-black applicants for such positions. In addition, FAPS, Inc. unlawfully included disability-related questions on job applications, the suit charges.

Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) places strict limits on employers’ ability to make disability-related inquiries or examinations. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The agency seeks injunctive relief to end the discriminatory practices, plus back pay and compensatory and punitive damages to compensate African-American applicants who were not hired or who were deterred from applying for jobs due to their race.

“The unfortunate reality is that African-Americans continue to face unlawful discrimination when seeking employment,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., director of the EEOC’s New York District Office. “Employers who fail to effectively address race-based discrimination in their recruitment and hiring practices risk becoming the subject of enforcement actions like the lawsuit we filed today.”

“The ADA prohibits an employer from asking disability-related questions of job applicants before a job offer is made because job applicants have the right to be judged on their ability to do the work, and not on prejudice about their mental or physical disabilities,” said Rosemary DiSavino, the EEOC trial attorney who will be litigating this case. “This lawsuit should teach employers to review their application forms and remove illegal questions.”

According to its website, FAPS, Inc. receives shipments of and prepares newly manufactured motor vehicles, mostly automobiles built outside the United States, for sale by domestic dealerships. FAPS’s services include pre-delivery inspections, accessorization, body repair, paint refinishing, testing to make sure motor vehicles meet U.S. safety and other requirements, and fleet reconditioning. FAPS also prepares, for shipment overseas, motor vehicles manufactured in the United States by U.S. companies, and restores and customizes motor vehicles.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

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