In a suit filed in late September against the owners of a hotel in Colorado, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reminded everyone that its job is to eradicate hiring based on stereotypical notions – even stereotypes that may benefit minority groups but result in harm to white workers.

The EEOC filed a discrimination suit against the owners of a limited-service hotel in Craig, Colorado, alleging that the owners fired white housekeeping staff and replaced them with Hispanic workers because “in their opinion Hispanics worked harder.”

The EEOC is bringing the action on behalf of three named plaintiffs and a class of other employees who were discharged without cause shortly after being hired in the fall of 2009 to work in the housekeeping department for the newly opened hotel.  The complaint alleges that the hotel owners asked the hotel’s manager to replace any Caucasian or non-Hispanic worker on the staff with Hispanics because it was their impression that people of other ethnicities were “lazy.”

According to the filing, the hotel manager allegedly discharged some of the plaintiffs and replaced them with Hispanic employees, some of whom were not required to submit written applications.  Over the course of about four months, all other non-Hispanic workers in the department had resigned or been discharged and replaced with Hispanics.

The case is a rare instance of the EEOC enforcing federal laws that prohibit not only discrimination against minority groups, but also reverse discrimination against whites.  The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to permanently enjoin the hotel owners’ allegedly illegal employment practices.  The suit also seeks back pay, job reinstatement or front pay, and other damages for the plaintiffs, along with punitive damages