Federal suit claims discrimination in action against injection molder

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: June 10, 2014 4:49 pm ET
Updated: June 10, 2014 4:52 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, United States, Insert molding

Injection molder and metal fabricator Wisconsin Plastics Inc. has been sued for unlawful firings allegedly based on discrimination.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched the suit June 9 in federal court in Green Bay, Wis. EEOC stated a group of Hmong and Hispanic employees was fired because of their national origins. EEOC is seeking lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for the fired employees and injunctive relief to end discriminatory practices.

EEOC began an investigation after a group of 11 employees complained to the federal agency. EEOC alleged the employees were fired after 10-minute observations of their English language skills, even though such skills were not needed in their jobs. The fired employees got satisfactory ratings on their annual performance evaluations while working with Wisconsin Plastics’ Modern Plastics division, EEOC alleged.

EEOC sued after first trying to resolve the issue without litigation through its statutory conciliation process.

“Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group,” EEOC stated in a news release.

EEOC associate regional attorney for the Chicago District Jean Kamp said Wisconsin Plastics has 60 days to respond to the suit. After that a judge will set a schedule for discovery and trial.

In the state of Wisconsin punitive damages for a guilty finding of the charges is a maximum of $200,000 per employee affected for companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Wisconsin Plastics officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Green Bay Press Gazette reprinted a statement from the company rebutting the allegations after the company said it learned about the suit through the media.

“The EEOC’s allegations are false and completely without merit,” the press report quoted.

“Wisconsin Plastics is an equal opportunity employer with a highly diverse workforce. The 12 positions affected by the layoffs were from a pool that was comprised of 91 percent of racial and ethnic minorities, including Hmong, Hispanic, African-American and American Indian employees. The layoff decisions at issue in the fall of 2012 were made on the basis of the employees’ overall comparative skills, behaviors and job performance over time. Though the decisions were difficult, they were necessary in order to ensure the ongoing stability of Wisconsin Plastics for the benefit of WPI’s customers, its shareholders, the community and the roughly 275 current company and temporary employees.”

The EEOC suit is in sharp contrast to an employee relations award given to Wisconsin Plastics in 2003. Plastics News reported that year that the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce association honored the company for “employment leadership.” Judges cited Wisconsin Plastics’ efforts to learn the Southeast Asian Hmong language to help communications with employees. The award also cited the firm’s employment of 25 to 30 inmates from the Sanger Powers Correctional Center.

On the careers section of its website, Wisconsin Plastics states it is an equal opportunity employer offering “a highly competitive benefit package including health, dental, vision, flexible spending and long-term disability.” The firm also participates in 401K retirement plans and provides eight paid holidays a year. Wisconsin Plastics currently is advertising openings for production technician, setup technician, welders and fabricators and assembly operator.

Wisconsin Plastics lists injection molding, signage and displays, stamping and painting as key activities. It runs 37 injection presses, ranging up to 1,000 tons of clamping force, in a 120,000-square-foot plant equipped with a tool room. It operates 24 hours a day seven days a week.


Comments

Federal suit claims discrimination in action against injection molder

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: June 10, 2014 4:49 pm ET
Updated: June 10, 2014 4:52 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Report: Brands are falling short on packaging sustainability

January 29, 2015 5:19 pm ET

Packaging in general, and plastic packaging in particular, has a long way to go in terms of recycling, according to a pair of environmental groups.    More

Image

Lund adds to aftermarket auto products portfolio with buy of Bushwacker

January 29, 2015 2:49 pm ET

Lund International Inc. has expanded its portfolio of plastic aftermarket vehicle accessories by acquiring Bushwacker Inc.    More

Image

Chemtrusion, Mytex Indiana compounding plant set for expansion

January 29, 2015 1:35 pm ET

Japanese and American partners in a compounding plant in Indiana plan to expand the facility.    More

Image

Falcon Plastics expands in South Dakota

January 29, 2015 11:45 am ET

Falcon Plastics Inc. is putting the final touches on a 60,000 square foot addition that will nearly double the size of its Brookings, S.D.,...    More

Image

Plastics enter 2015 on a high note

January 29, 2015 10:10 am ET

Now that the preliminary round of December data is officially in the books, I can state unequivocally that 2014 was an outstanding year for the U.S. p...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events