For immediate release
August 4, 2005
312-738-6149 or 347-804-6906
Nation's largest uniform company faces mounting discrimination allegations and federal agency intervention
San Francisco, CA – Former managers of Cincinnati-based Cintas Corporation filed a class-action complaint in federal district court in San Francisco yesterday alleging the uniform giant discriminated against them because they are African-American. Establishing a new lawsuit, the plaintiffs, Clifton Cooper and Larry Houston, accuse Cintas of denying them promotional opportunities offered to their white counterparts.
The suit arrives on the heels of Cintas’ mounting legal problems with employee diversity. Cooper and Houston’s suit is the third federal class action lawsuit filed against the company since 2004. In July 2004, a group of women in Michigan filed a class-action suit, Serrano et al. vs. Cintas, alleging they were shut out of jobs as route delivery drivers because of their gender.
Additionally, 10 employees and applicants to the company allege a company-wide pattern of discrimination against women, African-American, and Hispanic employees. They filed what is currently the largest discrimination lawsuit against Cintas, Ramirez et al. vs. Cintas, in January 2004. Yesterday Anthony Jones and James Morgan, joined the Ramirez et al. lawsuit as named plaintiffs.
Anthony Jones applied for a driver position at Cintas’ Dover, Delaware facility and believes he was denied this position because he is African-American. James Morgan, who is also African-American, believes he was denied the compensation offered to his white counterparts when he worked as a route delivery driver at Cintas’ San Leandro, California facility.
Earlier this year the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) intervened on behalf of plaintiff charges that Cintas discriminates against women in the recruitment and hiring of route drivers. The EEOC’s intervention certifies that the suit is of general public importance.
“How many lawsuits will it take before Cintas realizes they have a serious problem managing diversity?” said Wilfredo Larancuent, International Vice-President of UNITE HERE, the laundry and hospitality union. “We hope the Cintas employees who have courageously come forward to challenge this injustice in court will help put an end to discrimination at Cintas,” he added.
UNITE HERE and the Teamsters, which together represent one-third of the workers in the North American uniform and laundry industry, released a report in December 2004, “The Spirit is the Problem,” documenting employee claims that Cintas’ corporate culture supports discrimination. The report is available at www.uniformjustice.org
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.