Thirteen was the lucky number for the EEOC
Thirteen was the lucky number for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July. They filed 13 lawsuits and settled 13 during the month. Disability discrimination was the most prevalent type of discrimination with seven disability lawsuits filed. EEOC also settled two disability and five sexual harassment/retaliation cases.
Summary of lawsuit by type
• American Security Insurance Company [7/29/19] EEOC alleged that a senior processing clerk working for the company for almost 23 years was terminated because of her diabetes. Due to complications with Type II diabetes, the clerk requested an accommodation to work from home. After it was granted, her supervisor constantly chastised her for teleworking, criticized her performance with basis, and then fired her.
• Medtronic, Inc. [7/29/19] EEOC alleged that the company terminated a temporary employee because of her disability-related absences and failed to provide a reasonable accommodation. They also refused to directly hire her due to her disability.
• Groendyke Transport/McKenzie Tank Lines [7/29/19] EEOC alleged that the company applied its inflexible leave policy to fire two long-term employees with disabilities who had exhausted all medical leave.
• KTF Enterprises, Inc. and Kirker Enterprises, Inc. [7/22/19] EEOC alleged that the company denied reasonable accommodations from employees who needed them. A longtime employee, whose leg is amputated below the knee who used prosthesis, asked for a stool to sit on so that he wouldn’t need to stand his entire shift. The request was denied and the employee was terminated.
• Powerlink Facilities Management Services [7/11/19] EEOC alleged that the company failed to accommodate a hearing impaired employee and fired her because of her disability. Instead of accommodating the employee, they held up her orientation and start date for several months since she was unable to use the training videos.
• Citizens Bank, N.A. [7/2/19] EEOC alleged that the bank failed to reassign a long-term employee to one of several vacant positions after he became disabled and sought an accommodation. The employee developed anxiety and requested reassignment to a position that did not require him to field customer phone calls.
• Valley Tool [7/1/19] EEOC alleged that the company denied an employee a reasonable accommodation for her disability, fired her and then punished her for complaining about it. When the employee disclosed a “blood disorder” that caused her to miss work, the manager told her that he would not have hired her if he had known about her disorder and that they thought they were hiring a “healthy” individual.
• AH 2007 Management LP and Aimbridge Hospitality, LLC dba Courtyard Monroe Hotel [7/22/19] EEOC alleged that the hotel paid the only male guest service representative $15.25 per hour while paying a female front desk supervisor and each of his female co-workers only $11 per hour. Even though the hotel increased the supervisor to $16 per hour they never increase the wage for the female guest service representatives.
• American Medical Response [7/26/19] EEOC alleged that the company refused to accommodate a worker’s pregnancy-related medical restrictions and directed her to take unpaid leave or work without any restrictions.
• Chalfont & Associates Group, Inc. owner of McDonald’s restaurants [7/16/19] EEOC alleged that the company refused to hire a practicing Hasidic Jewish applicant who would not shave his beard due to his religious beliefs. The applicant for a maintenance worker position offered to wear a beard net as a solution but it was denied.
• Birchez Associates, LLC and Rondout Properties Management, LLC [7/10/19] EEOC alleged that the company subjected female employees to a sexually hostile work environment. The owner and top management official of the companies repeatedly subjected the women to crude sexual comments, used obscene sexist epithets, displayed pornography on a cell phone, and made unwelcome physical contact.
Sexual Harassment & Retaliation
• HM Solutions, Inc. [7/22/19] EEOC alleged that the janitorial services company subjected four female employees to a sexual hostile work environment and discharged them because they did not acquiesce to the harassment or because they complained about the behavior.
• University of Miami [7/29/19] EEOC alleged that the university paid a female political science professional less than a male counterpart for performing equal or similar work. Both were awarded promotion to full professor at the same time with similar reviews by faculty. Even after repeated complaints, the pay disparity continued.
Summary of settlements by type
• Keer America Corporation [7/30/19] entered into a two-year consent decree and will pay $32,000 to a 47 year old sales leader who was offered a job in April 2015. The company learned of his age during the pre-screening hiring process and ordered HR to rescind the job offer. The HR generalist refused and he started working but was fired two weeks later.
• ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC [7/30/19] entered into a two-year consent decree and will pay $200,000 to a Market Sales Manager (MSM) who was hired in August 2013, transferred in June 2014 and two months later informed the company that she had colon cancer. The company immediately removed her from her position. During her hospitalization she was pressured by the CMO to voluntarily give up her duties. She refused and complained to HR and one month later was fired.
• Kroger [7/8/19] entered into a consent decree and will pay $40,000 to a visually impaired employee. After accepting Kroger’s offer of courtesy clerk position, the individual was required to attend an orientation session. Due to his impairment, he requested an accommodation to complete the computer-based portion of the orientation, but it was refused. While working on his orientation he was summoned to the store manager’s office where he was fired.
National Origin, Color and Retaliation
• AMI Mechanical, Inc. [7/23/19] entered into a two-year consent decree and will pay $82,500 to settle a national lawsuit for assigned the plaintiff and other Latino plumbers to the sewer service, while white plumbers with the same level of experience were rarely or never assigned to work in the sewers.
• Simplicity Ground Services [7/24/19] entered into a three-year consent decree and will pay $120,000 to a pregnant employee and other pregnant employees who were forced to take unpaid leave. The company refused to accommodate their pregnancy-related lifting restrictions whereas other non-pregnant employees with similar restrictions were routinely granted light duty.
Pregnancy and Disability
• Party City Corporation [7/12/19] entered into a three-year consent decree and will pay $39,000 in lost wages and damages for firing an employee because of her pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical condition. The employee sought a reasonable accommodation but after obtaining medical information, the company denied her request and terminated her employment.
• Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Apprentices Local Union No. 475 [7/9/19] entered into a three-year consent decree to settle a lawsuit for failing to file EEO-3 reports and failing to keep race and gender data. The union will provide periodic reports to the EEOC and provide annual anti-discrimination training to its officers, agents and employees.
• American Medical Response of Tennessee, Inc. (AMR) [7/31/19] entered into a two-year consent decree and will pay $40,000 to a former employee who was a Jehovah’s Witness requesting Sundays off to worship. After first accommodating the employee, AMR later refused to continue the accommodation and fired the employee.
• Tapioca Express [7/29/19] entered into a 30-month consent decree and will pay $102,500 to young Filipino female employees between the ages of 17 and 23. The franchise owner intentionally took advantage of time alone with them to make unwanted sexual advances including repeated comments of a sexual nature and physical contact.
• G2 Corporation [7/24/19] entered into a five-year consent decree and will pay $55,000 to a female worker who was subjected to unwelcome physical and verbal sexual harassment from her manager and another company official.
Sexual Harassment & Retaliation
• Rockdale Grocery, Inc. dba Piggly Wiggly [7/26/19] entered into a one-year consent decree and will pay $50,000 to two female employees after a male employee made lewd sexual comments and sexual advances to them. The women reported the harassment to the store manager on several occasions but he laughed at them, dismissed their complaints, and later fired them for requesting a meeting with the president of the company and for filing a written complaint.
• Blackwater Protection & Detective Agency, LLC [7/18/19] entered into a consent decree and will pay $35,000 to a female employee subjected to sexually charged comments by the owner and CEO. He also retaliated against her for rejecting his advances.
• The North Liberty, Ind. Police Department [7/12/19] entered into a conciliation agreement and will pay $12,000 to a police officer subjected to hostile work environment and forced to resign in retaliation for making protected complaints about the sexual harassment.