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<!–:en–>EEOC MAKING SETTLEMENT WITH PANDA EXPRESS ON DISCRIMATION CASE<!–:–>

January 11, 2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) met with Panda Express on January 10th for settlement discussions over the agency’s allegations that the fast food chain
discriminated against Mexican employees (EEOC v. Panda Express Inc., N.D. Cal., No. CV-11-4021, joint statement filed 1/3/12).

During August 2011, the EEOC sued the Rosemead, Calif.-based chain alleging that a general manager required Latino workers to clean bathrooms and perform custodial work at a San Jose, Calif., restaurant while other counter workers of Asian origin were allowed to stand around and watch.

Separately, the chain is defending itself in a class action alleging that the company promotes only Asians to management positions (De Los Santos v. Panda Express Inc., C.D. Cal., No. CV-11-5828, joint report 12/22/11). Panda denies the claims and has filed a summary judgment motion scheduled to be heard March 12. The plaintiffs’ class certification motion is scheduled to be heard later this year.

Panda employs some 18,000 workers at more than 1,400 locations in 40 states and Puerto Rico. The potential class would exceed 57,000 current and former employees, the Dec. 22 parties’ joint report to the court said.  01.11.2012