We have successfully litigated cases seeking to remedy various forms of race, religious, and national origin discrimination on behalf of Asian Americans and other communities of color.
Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (2003)
Advancing Justice - LA represented a group of Asian American college students who had worked for Abercrombie & Fitch, a national clothing retailer, in the Crystal Court Mall. The workers approached Advancing Justice - LA complaining that they were fired from positions as “brand reps” (salespeople) after a white executive from corporate headquarters visited the store and, pointing to a white model on a store poster, said, “You need more employees who look like this.” Advancing Justice - LA joined with other civil rights legal organizations representing African American and Latino applicants and employees to file a nationwide class action lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch for discrimination in hiring, firing, and job assignments in its retail stores. In 2004, the court approved a class settlement that required the company to pay $40 million.
The settlement also required the company to establish guidelines for hiring practices and promotion policies, including the hiring of a new vice president of diversity, diversity training for all employees with authority over hiring, and increased diversity in its marketing materials. Advancing Justice - LA co-counseled the case with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein.
Her v. Club One Casino and related matters (2010)
Advancing Justice - LA represents a multiracial group of Hmong, Cambodian, and older workers in California’s Central Valley in several related suits against Club One Casino in Fresno for its discriminatory employment practices against these workers on account of their race, national origin, and age. As example of its discriminatory practices, Club One excluded its Hmong dealers from working at special poker tournaments, disproportionately reduced the hours of Hmong, Cambodian, and older workers, and made disparaging comments about long-time Hmong poker dealers’ English proficiency. One of the cases also is brought on behalf of all poker dealers to remedy Club One’s practice of depriving dealers of their breaks, failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime compensation, and unlawfully taking portions of their tips under the guise a tip pooling scheme. Advancing Justice - LA seeks to obtain compensation for the workers for their economic losses and mental distress, and injunctive and declaratory relief to prevent future violations. Minami Tamaki LLP serves as co-counsel.
Abdon v. Delano Regional Medical Center (2011)
Advancing Justice - LA represented over 40 Filipino American hospital employees who were subjected to a discriminatory English-only policy by their employer, Delano Medical Regional Center (DRMC) in California’s Central Valley. The Filipino American employees alleged that DRMC discriminated against them by subjecting them to an over-reaching English-only policy which the hospital did not enforce against other bilingual employees. On behalf of the employees, Advancing Justice - LA intervened in a lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to assert state law claims that provide the workers’ heightened protections.
In 2012, the parties reached a landmark settlement of $975,000 which is the largest settlement for a workplace language discrimination case in the health care industry in the United States. In addition to monetary relief, the settlement imposed on the hospital a three-year consent decree that prohibits it from engaging in the kind of alleged discrimination and harassment that gave rise to the lawsuit and institutes a new language policy. The new policy acknowledges the value of the hospital’s diverse work force and allows employees the dignity to speak the language of their choice in appropriate circumstances. The consent decree also requires the hospital to hire an external Equal Employment Opportunity monitor to ensure compliance with its terms as well as train all staff to comply with equal employment laws and the new language policy.
Hamdan v. Dept. of Justice et al. (2012)
Advancing Justice - LA is litigating a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case seeking information about the U.S. government’s involvement in the overseas detention, interrogation, and torture of U.S. citizen Naji Hamdan. Between August and October 2008, Mr. Hamdan was detained and tortured at a black site in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), where he was living at the time. Mr. Hamdan believes that his detention and torture in the U.A.E. was at the behest of the U.S. government, pursuant to its well-known practice of “proxy detention” of terrorism suspects abroad. This and other practices adopted by the government in the name of counterterrorism after 9/11 have had a disproportionately harmful effect on Arab and Muslim Americans, like Mr. Hamdan.
Through its FOIA lawsuit, Advancing Justice - LA and co-counsel the ACLU of Southern California are challenging the government’s withholding of key documents that would shed much needed public light on the U.S. government’s involvement in Mr. Hamdan’s detention and torture abroad.