Facebook Security Contractor Settles Five Discrimination Claims for $595,000

The Bureau of Labor and Industries found substantial evidence of employee discrimination at G4S in Prineville.

A data center in Bend rents out space to both Bitcoin miners and government agencies. (Christine Dong)

The firm that provides security at Facebook facilities in Prineville has agreed to pay five current and former employees a total of $595,000 to resolve complaints of racial discrimination in the workplace.

The five, all Hispanic, said in complaints filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries that beginning in 2017, they experienced frequent attacks on their race and national origin, derogatory comments from co-workers, and discriminatory workplace treatment.

Among the allegations: that complainants were demoted and forced disproportionately to work graveyard shifts and that they were harassed based on their ethnicity, including being referred by co-workers to as "the Mexican Mafia." The complainants all said they brought the issues to their supervisors but nothing was done.

After investigating the complaints, BOLI's civil rights division found "substantial evidence" to support the workers' allegations and, last year, brought formal charges against G4S. Prior to contested case hearings, G4S agreed to settle the charges with payments to the complainants and agreed to improve training and harassment policies.

A G4S spokesperson said in an email it is pleased the matters are resolved.

"The company promptly addressed the complainants' concerns, and none of the complainants experienced any adverse employment actions," the company said in a statement. "G4S remains committed to diversity in the workplace and to maintaining the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, including treating everyone with dignity and respect in all employment processes and decisions. The actions of the former supervisors are not representative of the hard-working men and women of G4S."

Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle urged others to come forward to seek justice if they've experienced discrimination or harassment.

"It's illegal to be treated differently or subjected to harassment because of your race, sex or national origin," Hoyle said in a statement. "If people are suffering discrimination in any corner of our state, they can reach out to us and we will help make it right. Oregon's laws are there to protect you, and we are here to enforce them."

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