– U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal granted final approval yesterday to
the settlement of discrimination claims against Quietflex Manufacturing
Company, L.P. (the company). Under the terms of the settlement, the
company’s insurer will pay $2.8 million to 78 current and former Latino
employees. In addition, the company has agreed to implement policies and
practices to advance equal employment opportunity.
The lawsuit was filed in October 2001 when 78 Latino employees,
represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense And Educational Fund, Inc.
(MALDEF), sued the company, claiming that it discriminated against them
based on their national origin in its transfer and compensation policies.
The suit alleged that Latinos were denied entry into a department with jobs
which were higher-paying and had better working conditions than the
departments in which Latinos worked. They further alleged retaliation based
on their terminations stemming from a work stoppage in January 2000. All
employees were rehired shortly thereafter. Based on an assertion that the
case raised issues of general public importance, the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) intervened as an additional plaintiff shortly
after the suit was filed.
The company, which produces flexible air conditioning ducts and component
products, has denied, and continues to deny, all of the allegations in the
The settlement covers all outstanding claims. In reaching a settlement,
the parties have avoided the inconvenience, cost and inherent uncertainty of
trial. As the case has been settled and no trial was held, the court made no
findings about liability.
“Our office investigated the claims that gave rise to the lawsuit,”
said Regional Attorney James Sacher of the EEOC’s Houston District Office.
“The improvement in promotional and transfer prospects for Hispanic
workers and the payment of compensation to settlement group members is
gratifying, as it shows the efficacy of our civil rights enforcement
Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., trial counsel at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, said:
“While we were fully prepared to present this case at trial, and stand by
our position that our client has always followed the laws and regulations
related to equal opportunity employment, we are very pleased with this
result for our client. This settlement is a fair conclusion for all