For immediate release
February 3, 2005
Federal agency backs discrimination suit against nation’s largest uniform provider, announces Campaign for Uniform Justice
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission files motion on behalf of women charging sex discrimination at Cintas Corporation
San Francisco — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed papers in federal court Tuesday supporting a discrimination lawsuit against Cintas Corp. Cincinnati-based Cintas is the country’s largest provider of work uniforms.
“After a review of the available evidence, EEOC has determined that there is sufficient and reasonable basis to believe that Cintas discriminates against women in the recruitment and hiring of sales drivers,” EEOC General Counsel Eric S. Dreiband stated in the agency’s motion to intervene in the suit, Ramirez et al. v. Cintas. Filing the motion means that EEOC, a federal agency whose members are appointed by the President, is certifying that the suit is of general public importance.
Several Cintas employees filed the suit last year in U.S. District Court in San Francisco charging that Cintas has a company-wide pattern of discrimination against African-American, Hispanic, and women employees.
In recent years, EEOC intervention has bolstered high profile discrimination suits, including a race discrimination case against Texaco. The oil company settled the suit for $176 million and agreed to establish a task force to monitor its diversity programs for five years.
“The EEOC’s intervention supports our contention that Cintas systematically shuts women out of route driver jobs,” said Cheryl Johnson, Director, Teamster Human Rights Commission. The majority of Cintas’ lower-paying production employees are women, many of whom earn as little as $6.50 an hour. Meanwhile, plaintiffs charge, the company reserves route driver positions, typically paying more than $30,000 a year, for men.
With 35 years of consecutive quarterly growth in revenues and profits, Cintas provides uniform and mat services to companies such as Ford, DuPont, American Building Maintenance, and the United States Postal Service. This is an announcement from the Campaign for Uniform Justice, a joint effort of UNITE HERE and the Teamsters. UNITE HERE and the Teamsters have established a hotline, 1-800-872-8646, to offer help to Cintas workers and job applicants who believe Cintas has discriminated against them. The unions, which together represent one-third of the workers in the North American uniform and laundry industry, recently released a report,“The Spirit is the Problem,” documenting employee claims that Cintas’ corporate culture supports discrimination. The report is available at www.uniformjustice.org.