Marquez Brothers, the San Jose, CA based company that produces the El Mexicano brand of foods, will pay a fine of $2 million for rejecting non-Hispanic job applicants, including two African Americans at their location in Hanford. As Tim Sheehan of the Fresno Bee reports, Marquez Brothers refused even to give paperwork to the black applicants and ultimately hired a person less qualified for the job.
As Fox News reports, the settlement with the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, applies to Marquez Brothers operations in nine states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Beyond the $2 million fine, the company has agreed to maintain a tracking system for all discrimination complaints. The non-Hispanics previously rejected included Asians and whites. Discrimination of this kind has also been common in California government.
Texas-born Mario Obledo was Gov. Jerry Brown’s choice for Health and Welfare Secretary and served from 1975 to 1982. By his own admission, Obledo gave preference to Hispanics for government jobs in his agency. As Obledo famously said, “California is going to become a Hispanic state, and if anyone doesn’t like it, they should leave.”
In similar style, the University of California rejected highly qualified applicants such as Allan Bakke, a Vietnam Veteran who never discriminated against anyone, and gave preference to students on the basis of race and ethnicity. In 1996, California became the first state to ban such discrimination through the California Civil Rights Initiative, Proposition 209, led by University of California Regent Ward Connerly.
The voter-approved measure forbids racial and ethnic preferences in state employment, education and contracting. It does not bar state universities from casting the widest possible net in admissions, nor from taking affirmative action to help students on an economic basis.
The proportionality dogma that all groups must be represented according to their percentage of the population is not state law and not part of the California or U.S. Constitution. Proposition 209 has been challenged by measures such as SCA 5 a proposed state constitutional amendment by State Sen. Ed Hernandez.
Asian Americans, held to be “overrepresented” in state universities, vigorously opposed the measure. In 2016, Democrat candidates for governor John Chiang, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa all favored racial and ethnic preferences in state education. Proposition 209 remains state law, and the federal EEOC rides herd on racial and ethnic discrimination by private employers.
Melissa Barrios of the EEOC’s Fresno office told reporters the $2 million settlement with Marquez Brothers, “should send a strong message to employers that the EEOC is dedicated to its mission.” Anyone believing Marquez Brothers wrongfully discriminated against them may contact the EEOC by calling 855-725-4456.