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Maine Human Rights Commission finds that Hannaford Bros. unlawfully discriminated against employee

The Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has found reasonable grounds to believe that Hannaford Bros., a part of the multi-national corporation Delhaize Group, unlawfully discriminated against Ernesto Duran. Mr. Duran, a Latino gentleman originally from Puerto Rico, worked for Hannaford for about eight years until Hannaford fired him on May 20, 2009. The MHRC found that Hannaford fired Mr. Duran because of his race, color, and national origin.

According to the MHRC report, the person who got Mr. Duran fired had said to Mr. Duran “why don’t you go back where you came from.” Mr. Duran also claims that his managers disciplined him for alleged misconduct that he did not commit. He claims that white employees committed misconduct similar to what he was accused of and they received no discipline. The MHRC asked Hannaford to provide disciplinary records for employees in Mr. Duran’s department. Prior to the date Mr. Duran filed his complaint with the MHRC, only non-white employees in his department received discipline.

Hannaford has not contested the MHRC Investigator’s finding that it unlawfully discriminated against Mr. Duran. The MHRC has this matter on its consent agenda for its March 7, 2011 meeting. Under its normal procedure, the MHRC will vote and confirm the Investigator’s finding. Mr. Duran and Hannaford will then go through a conciliation process in an effort to settle Mr. Duran’s case. If they do not reach a settlement, the next step would be a lawsuit in court. Mr. Duran is represented by Chad Hansen from the Maine Employee Rights Group.

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