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California Warehouse Workers Experienced Largest Race Bias Cases

The Los Angeles Times has reported that the two largest race bias cases from the last decade in the U.S. occurred at warehouses in Southern California. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Cardinal Health and Ryder Integrated Logistics for race bias, accusing them of ignoring harassment against Black employees in Spanish and English. The EEOC also said the companies assigned Black employees the worst manual labor positions, denied them training, failed to promote them, and refused to act when Black employees complained.

The Black employees at these two companies said the harassment came from Latino co-workers. These employees said their Latino co-workers called them names, including the N-word and "monkeys." According to the LA Times, Latino workers are becoming an increasing majority of employees in many lower-wage workplaces, and more attention is being paid to the anti-Black bias. At these California warehouses, the Black employees said harassment came from their Latino supervisors as well. Black employees said Latino supervisors would not let Black employees take bathroom breaks or would make them work longer hours. The employees said managers often fired or disciplined them if they complained.

Both companies denied the allegations and settled the claims brought by the EEOC. An EEOC attorney interviewed by the LA Times said the agency is seeing an increase in widespread race harassment cases with more blatant displays of hatred in imagery and words. This attorney said the rise in violence in our broader culture is mirrored in the workplace harassment allegations the agency sees. The majority of race cases resolved by the EEOC involve Black employees, and the second highest number of cases involve bias against Latinx employees. The LA Times reported about a third of anti-Black bias suits filed by the EEOC involve Latinx perpetrators.