B&H Foto: From lawsuit to $3 million consent decree

Louise Davies is an Affirmative Action Paralegal in Constangy’s Winston-Salem, North Carolina, office. For more than 15 years, she has helped employers develop affirmative action plans and respond to audits and on-site investigations by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. She also conducts diversity training for employers. Louise is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

In February 2016, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs filed an administrative complaint against B&H Foto, the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States. The Complaint alleged that B&H had discriminated against female, black, and Asian jobseekers by hiring only Hispanic men for entry-level positions.  The OFCCP also alleged that Hispanic employees were harassed, paid less than similarly situated workers, and denied promotions because of their ethnicity.

The agency and the company recently entered into a consent decree, in which B&H agreed to pay $3.22 million in back wages to more than 1,300 affected class members. The company has also agreed to hire a workplace consultant to address its employment practices and workplace conduct. In addition, the company must provide its managers with annual training on EEO principles and on workplace harassment.

By agreeing to the consent decree, the company did not admit any guilt or wrongdoing. The company released a statement denying all of the allegations, but recognizing that litigation would be costly and resolution would allow it to return to business “as usual” with the government.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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