It’s been a rough stretch for B&H Photo Video.
The last couple months have not been good to B&H Photo Video, one of the largest photography retailers in the world. A few months ago, the company was hit with accusations of mistreatment and discrimination and even saw its workers protest and unionize. But now things have gotten even worse for the retail giant.
B&H is now being sued by the US government for discrimination in the workplace. The US Labor Department’s lawsuit, which was announced las Thursday, accuses B&H of violating federal requirements at its Brooklyn camera gear warehouse.
B&H “has systematically discriminated against Hispanic employees and female, black and Asian jobseekers at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse,” the government says. Since B&H is a federal contractor, they are forbidden from discriminating in employment and are required to take affirmative action for employment equality.
The government has specific and damning accusations against B&H as a result of a review conducted between 2011 and 2013. One of the accusations is that B&H required Hispanic warehouse workers to use separate restrooms from other employees – bathrooms that are unsanitary “and often inoperable,” the government says.
The government is demanding that B&H provide relief for the affected workers, or else it will threaten to cancel B&H’s government contracts (worth $46 million) and permanently ban it from future contracts.
B&H calls the governments claims “inaccurate” and “bizarre”.
“The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility,” the store claims. “We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true. Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.”