Wednesday, December 7, 2016

FEEDING INTO TRUMP'S NARRATIVE. Cicero doesn't have the best reputation, but I think a lot of people will find this story in the New York Times surprising: 
A group of African-American workers filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against a nationwide job placement agency and several of its clients, accusing them of discriminating against black applicants by favoring Hispanic applicants.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that the agency, MVP Staffing, used a range of discriminatory practices, including code words for job applicants of different races, to honor the requests of corporate clients who refused to employ African-Americans in temporary positions. The company operates about 60 offices in 38 states.

The suit accuses the company of eight counts of racial discrimination based on the operations of its office in Cicero, Ill. A phone message and an email seeking comment from MVP Staffing on Monday night were not returned, and a person who answered the phone on Tuesday declined to comment.


The vast majority of Hispanic job applicants served by MVP were in the United States illegally, Ms. Ceja added, and their vulnerability made them attractive short-term workers. “That makes it harder for them to complain or do anything,” she said. “They are so scared to raise their voice and say, ‘Hey, this is not fair.’”

Ms. Ceja said MVP employees would start the day by separating Hispanic job applicants from African-Americans. They would enter the Hispanic applicants’ contact information into a database so they could be easily reached when jobs opened up. African-American applicants rarely received the same treatment, she said: They were usually instructed to go to an MVP office at dawn to wait for assignments that rarely came.

When African-Americans were given jobs, they were often marked “D.N.R.” when they returned, short for “do not return” to the client company, Ms. Ceja said. Dispatchers who sent African-Americans to a company that had asked not to be sent black employees would be reprimanded by their boss, she added.

“If it was 10 Mexicans that would come at 1:30 p.m., and 25 African-Americans that were there at 4:30 a.m. and were waiting to be sent to work, they would send the Mexicans first,” she said.

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