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Several African-Americans filed a federal class-action lawsuit Tuesday that accuses a Chicago area staffing company of discriminating against Blacks and favoring Hispanic job applicants, the New York Times reports.

The lawsuit alleges that MVP Staffing, which has offices in 38 states, used code words to discuss applicants’ race and utilized other discriminatory practices to comply with the racial preferences of its business clients.

One of the plaintiffs, Kevin James, told The Times he was sent on a job assignment just once. He recalled the agency sending Hispanic applicants to lots of work sites while he would sit waiting in the office.

A former MVP employee gives credence to the allegations

Rosa Ceja told the newspaper that the staffing agency used code words when discussing jobseekers, especially in emails, to hide evidence of racial discrimination.

They used the word “guapos,” which means “handsome ones” in Spanish to identify African-American applicants. They referred to Hispanics as “feos,” which means “ugly ones.”

Those descriptions, she said, referred to African-Americans not wanting jobs that required hard work or getting dirty.

Companies wanted Hispanic workers, however, to exploit their labor, Ceja explained. Most of them were undocumented and seldom complained about work conditions.

Joe Sellers, the lead lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told The Times that racial discrimination is commonplace in the staffing industry.

The Times identified several other Chicago area companies named as defendants in the lawsuit: Personnel Staffing Group, the Segerdahl Group, Mercury Plastics Inc., Jet Lithocolor, The Penray Companies Inc., WestRock Consumer Packaging Group, AGI Media, Lawrence Foods Inc. and the Blommer Chocolate Company.

SOURCE: New York Times


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Black Jobseekers File Discrimination Suit Against Staffing Agency That Favored Hispanics  was originally published on