A proposed class action alleges Home Depot has engaged in discrimination by unequally enforcing attendance policies such that Black employees are disciplined and terminated more frequently than their white counterparts.
The 15-page case out of Alabama alleges that the home improvement retailer has violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with its “systemic pattern and practice of race discrimination,” in particular through the allegedly unequal enforcement of its points-based companywide disciplinary system. More specifically, the suit claims that Black employees are terminated for violations of Home Depot’s absence policy at a much higher rate than white employees, despite maintaining similar attendance records.
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The plaintiff, a former Home Depot general warehouse associate at a distribution warehouse in McCalla, Alabama, claims that he was wrongfully laid off in June 2021 after six years of employment at the facility. According to the company, the plaintiff was terminated for violations of its absence policy after he amassed a combination of 12 “leave early and/or unexcused absences” within 10 months.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff “disputes the accuracy and that the policy was correctly applied” given that he was assessed unexcused absence points “when the absences were due to be excused.”
“[M]oreover, he observed white persons … leaving early without being assessed points,” the filing adds.
Further, the complaint alleges that even though a majority of employees holding the same classification as the plaintiff were Black, they were disproportionately laid off in comparison to white employees who held the same number of absences.
“The attendance policy is discretionary as employees are subject to discipline for violations, but not necessarily disciplined for violations,” the suit explains. “That unfettered discrimination allows the African American employees to be terminated more frequently than their white counterparts.”
Additionally, the plaintiff alleges that Black employees were assigned more work than white employees in the warehouse.
The filing claims that Home Depot’s allegedly discriminatory employment practices have caused the plaintiff and similarly situated employees “extreme harm,” including loss of compensation, wages, back and front pay, and other employment benefits.
The lawsuit looks to represent all current, past, present, and future employees of Home Depot who are African American/Black and who have been, continue to be, or in the future, subject to one or more aspects of the alleged systemic race discrimination described in this complaint.
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