MALDEF Sues California Market and Cleaning Firm for Workplace Harassment of Latinos

On Tuesday afternoon, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) announced that it filed a federal lawsuit against a Nothern California grocery store chain and the cleaning service it uses for harassing Latino employees and “unlawfully” firing one worker “after they complained about the hostile work environment.”

“A Davis branch of Nugget Market Inc., a 12-store chain with stores in the Sacramento area and in Marin and Sonoma Counties, subjected the workers to severe and continual harassment motivated by the supermarket managers’ racial and ethnic biases,” MALDEF said in a media release. “The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento, also names as defendant One Stop Solution, a janitorial service that contracts with Nugget and hired one of the plaintiffs to do cleaning work.”

The suit was filed on behalf of two workers, Jimmy David Ramirez-Castellanos, who is of Salvadoran descent and Francisco Javier Gomez Espinoza, who is of Mexican descent. MALDEF said that “Mr. Ramirez-Castellanos was fired by One Stop Solution in December 2015, with less than a year on the job, at the behest of Nugget Market after he complained of harassment involving insults and racist comments. Mr. Gomez Espinoza, who was hired by Nugget Market in 2011, quit in June 2016 in the face of discrimination and harassment.”

“While our national political discourse may have been coarsened by the anti-Latino rhetoric of Donald Trump, that does not excuse or permit racial harassment in the workplace,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “Latino workers, like all workers, have the right to a workplace free of racial targeting and stereotyping.”

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