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http://www.azcentral.com:80/news/1216fired16.html

Company closes amid barrage of bias lawsuits

Edythe Jensen
The Arizona Republic Dec. 16, 2000

A Gilbert lithography company plagued by federal discrimination lawsuits for its treatment of female and Hispanic workers has closed, leaving employees without paychecks less than two weeks before Christmas.

Eight former workers congregated outside the Quality Art building near Guadalupe and Neely roads Friday; all said they are owed two weeks' pay.

"I spent my last cent, and I'm going to have to move in with somebody tonight," said George Williams, 53, of Tempe.

Nearly 50 workers have federal discrimination lawsuits against Quality Art pending in U.S. District Court, said Phoenix attorney Steve Montoya, who represents 46 of them. He said he didn't know about the closure.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also sued the company in June on behalf of 27 undocumented Mexican and Guatemalan women who said they were strip-searched, groped and referred to in slurs.

There is no telephone listing for the company's Chicago owners, Palestra Capital Partners Inc. Calls placed to the company's Phoenix attorney, Larry Rosenfeld, were not returned Friday.

Contacted at home, former Production Manager Howard Stoliker said the owners opened a plant in Nogales, Sonora, around the time the discrimination lawsuits were filed and cut production in Gilbert from more than 100 workers to fewer than 20. He declined to give owners' names or phone numbers.

Reach the reporter at edythe.jensen@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-7939.