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NATICK, Mass. -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought suit against BJ's Wholesale Club here for allegedly discriminating against African-American and Hispanic associates at a club in Homestead, Fla., according to published reports.
According to the suit, which was filed yesterday, a manager at the location made racial and ethnic slurs against some employees, creating a hostile work environment.
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The EEOC said it went ahead with the suit after attempts to resolve the complaint voluntarily were unsuccessful. The commission's suit seeks money damages, changes in BJ's employment policies, and punitive damages.
In an EEOC statement, Delner Franklin-Thomas, regional attorney for the Miami District Office, noted: "Many families shop at BJ's and would be shocked to discover it treats its employees this way. All employees are entitled to a workplace free from racism and bigotry."
The retailer responded to the allegations in an e-mailed statement: "BJ's Wholesale Club takes any allegation of discrimination very seriously and does not tolerate discriminatory behavior of any kind against any Team Member. As this matter is in active litigation, we cannot comment on the specifics of the EEOC's claims.
"We value diversity in our organization, and we are committed to providing a workplace free of discrimination. We will continue to work with the EEOC to resolve this matter as expeditiously as possible."