A group of African-Americans has filed a class action lawsuit against Southern California Edison. It accuses the company of routine racial discrimination since the 1970s.
Ten named plaintiffs spoke to reporters on the steps of the L.A. County Courthouse this morning after they filed the suit. Some have worked at Edison for more than 30 years; they say the company has consistently passed them over for promotions.
Charles Mathews is one of the group’s attorneys. He maintains that Edison has also failed to honor two consent decrees the company entered into with a federal district court after class action discrimination lawsuits in 1974 and 1994.
“The promises that are in the consent decree calling on Edison to make good faith efforts to increase the employee population and improve the opportunities for African-Americans to be promoted, to achieve higher status and goals... not only have they not been met, but they have in fact have been reduced substantially. They have a culture of discrimination against African-Americans at Edison that’s reprehensible.”
Mathews says the number of African-American employees has diminished by almost 40 percent since Edison last faced this kind of lawsuit 16 years ago.
Plaintiffs in the suit include present Edison employees and African-Americans who applied and were denied jobs.
An Edison representative said that company policy prevents it from commenting on pending litigation.