3-31-17 /
Texas Roadhouse to Pay $12 Million to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Texas Roadhouse, a national, Kentucky-based restaurant chain, will pay $12 million and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimin­ation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had filed suit seeking relief for a class of applicants the EEOC charged had been denied front-of-the-house positions, such as servers, hosts, server assistants and bartenders, because of their age, 40 years and older.  As part of the settlement, Texas Roadhouse will change its hiring and recruiting practices.

The EEOC's lawsuit, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-11732-DJC, filed in September 2011, alleged that Texas Roadhouse violated federal law by engaging in a nationwide pattern or practice of age discrimination in hiring hourly front-of-the-house employees.  The case, which was scheduled for a retrial on May 15, 2017, had resulted in a hung jury after nearly a four-week trial earlier this year.

The consent decree resolving the case, which was approved by Judge Denise Casper today, sets up a claims process that will identify and compensate those affected individuals age 40 and older who applied to Texas Roadhouse for a front-of-the-house position between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2014.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree, which will be in force for three and a half years, includes an injunction preventing Texas Roadhouse from discriminating on the basis of age in the future. It also requires the company to establish a diversity director and pay for a decree compliance monitor, who is charged with ensuring that the company complies with the decree's terms. These terms require Texas Roadhouse to comply with the ADEA and to increase its recruitment and hiring of employees age 40 and older for front-of-the-house positions. 

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4-5-17  /
Country Fresh to Pay $84,750 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suit

Milk Manufacturer Denied Promotions to a Woman Because of Sex, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT - Country Fresh, LLC, a milk manufacturer which operates in Livonia, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, will pay $84,750 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that Country Fresh violated federal law by failing to promote a woman to a super­visory position because of her sex. According to the suit, Country Fresh denied the employee promo­tions to positions such as production supervisor. She had worked in various production jobs throughout the plant, had decades of experience, and was repeatedly bypassed for promotions while men were promoted.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:16-cv-11551) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires Country Fresh to train its supervisors, managers, and human resources representatives on sex discrimination.

4-10-17

U.S. Steel Subsidiary to Pay $150,000 to Settle EEOC Religious Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Houston Company Revoked Job Offer to Nazirite Applicant Whose Religion Forbids Cutting Hair From Scalp, Federal Agency Charged

HOUSTON - A Houston manufacturing facility has agreed to pay $150,000 and to provide other significant relief to settle a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC charged in its suit that U.S. Steel Tubular Products, Inc. (USSTP), a subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation, violated federal law by revoking a worker's job offer because of his religion and in retaliation for insisting that his religious practices be accommodated. USSTP denied the allegations.

According to the EEOC's suit, Stephen Fasuyi applied for a utility technician position in November 2011 at a facility in Houston and received an oral employment offer. The job offer was contingent upon his successful completion of a pre-employment drug test. Fasuyi belongs to the Nazirite sect of the Hebrew Israelite faith, and he sincerely believes that the Old Testament forbids him from cutting hair from his scalp. During a hair follicle drug test the same day he received a job offer, he declined to have a lock of his hair cut starting at the scalp, but he offered alternatives, such as pulling hair from his beard, which seemed consistent with the drug test protocol. Fasuyi nevertheless was instructed to go home without the examination being completed, and was denied the opportunity to re-test on a different date.

Fasuyi subsequently applied for other vacancies at USSTP, including another utility technician position for which he initially was scheduled for an interview, only to have the interview later canceled by the company.

The EEOC contended that Fasuyi's religious beliefs should have been accommodated during the pre-employment testing, and that USSTP ultimately denied him employment because of his religion and in retaliation for his opposing what he believed to be religious discrimination. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination because of religion and prohibits retaliation. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division (Civil Action No. 4:14cv2747) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the terms of a two-year consent decree settling the case, USSTP will pay $150,000 in monetary relief and has agreed to other relief in resolving this matter.
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4-10-17

ABL Management to Pay $35,000 to Settle Retaliation Lawsuit with EEOC

Company Fired Panama City Employee After He Reported Male Supervisor Sexually Harassed Him, Federal Agency Charged

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - ABL Management, Inc., a Baton Rouge, La.-based food management company, will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a retaliatory discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, ABL assigned employee Duane Gatson to serve as a kitchen supervisor at the Bay County Jail Facility in Panama City, Fla. While working in an isolated food storage area, Gaston was approached and groped by a male kitchen manager, the EEOC said. Thereafter, Gatson reported the offending conduct to his immediate supervisor. Following his report, he was advised that the company would conduct an investigation regarding his charges. However, within several weeks of making his report of sexual harassment, ABL fired Gaston as retaliation for complaining, the EEOC said.

Such alleged misconduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who has participated in an investigation under Title VII, including an employer's internal investigation. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. ABL Management, Inc., 5:16-cv-00187-RH-GRJ) on June 30, 2016 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Panama City after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $35,000 payment, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit requires ABL to take specific actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including implementing policies and practices designed to prevent discrimination based on sex and retaliation, providing anti-discrimination training to employees, and posting anti-discrimination notices in its workplace. The decree also requires ABL to appoint a qualified consultant who will help implement policies, provide direction for potential investigations, and train ABL employees and managers about retaliation.


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3-28-17

Disability Services Company to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

ValleyLife Failed to Provide Reasonable Accommodations to Employees With Disabilities, Federal Agency Charges

PHOENIX - ValleyLife, a disability support services company, will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, ValleyLife had a practice of firing employees with disabilities who needed extended leave or reassignment rather than providing them with reasonable accommodations as required under federal law. The EEOC alleged that ValleyLife simply terminated people who had exhausted their paid time off and/or any unpaid leave for which they were eligible under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rather than determine if there was a reasonable accommodation that would allow them to continue to work.

The EEOC further charged that ValleyLife did not engage in any kind of back-and-forth dialogue with the employees to explore whether reasonable accommodations were possible. For example, the agency said ValleyLife could have reassigned the employees to other positions, provided additional leave, or provided other kinds of accommodations such as a shift change or assistance with lifting. The EEOC also alleged that ValleyLife commingled medical records in employee personnel files and failed to keep these medical records confidential.

All this alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects workers from discrimination based upon disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental impairments of disabled employees unless doing so would cause an undue hardship. Moreover, the ADA requires employers to keep employees' medical information confidential and separate from other personnel records.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (EEOC v. ValleyLife, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-00340-GMS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona and signed by Judge G. Murray Snow, requires ValleyLife to pay $100,000 to four ex-employees. Besides the monetary relief, the decree requires the company to revise its policies to make clear that the company will consider reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities; provide ADA training to its work­force from top to bottom; keep medical records confidential and separate from personnel files; and post a notice informing its employees of their rights under the ADA.


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OFCCP – January 2017 

LexisNexis Risk Solutions to pay over $1.2M in back pay and interest to 211 employees after investigation finds pay discrimination

LexisNexis Risk Solutions will pay over $1.2 million in back pay and interest and provide additional relief to resolve allegations of systemic pay discrimination against women at its facilities in Alpharetta, Georgia, and Boca Raton, Florida.

LexisNexis provides computer-assisted legal and business research and risk management services. During fiscal years 2015 and 2016, the company had millions of dollars in federal contracts with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Transportation and Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration.

Two separate investigations by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that, as of  December 2012 and continuing thereafter, LexisNexis paid 26 female employees in Operational Leadership jobs substantially less than males employed in the same jobs in Boca Raton, Florida.  OFCCP’s investigations further found that, as of December 2012, LexisNexis paid 185 female employees in Operational Leadership jobs substantially less than their male counterparts in Alpharetta, Georgia. The agency found a significant difference in pay in both locations even after taking into account legitimate factors that affect pay level. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors from engaging in compensation discrimination on the basis of sex.

While not admitting liability, LexisNexis has agreed to pay over $1.2 million in back pay and interest, and to monitor practices that affect compensation for women adversely. The company also agreed to pay over $45,000 in salary adjustments to women employed at the Boca Raton facility and will conduct an annual compensation analysis during the term of the conciliation agreement.

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OFCCP - January 2017

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Louisiana resolves US Labor Department claim of hiring discrimination against 467 warehouse workers

 

A routine investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Louisiana, LLC, systemically discriminated against black applicants in its hiring practices at its St. Rose warehouse facility. The company has entered into a consent decree to resolve the department’s claims.

An OFCCP compliance review found that, from January 2008 to January 2009, the federal contractor discriminated against 467 black applicants for warehouse worker positions in violation of Executive Order 11246. OFCCP also found that the company failed to keep complete and accurate employment records and failed to evaluate its selection procedures as required by law.  

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Louisiana is a wholesale distributor of spirits, wines and malt beverages. The company has contracts with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

While not admitting liability, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Louisiana has agreed to pay $175,000 in back wages and interest to the 467 affected class members and to extend 13 job offers. A judge in the Office of Administrative Law Judges has entered an order adopting the consent decree. 

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OFCCP – January 2017

Hormel Foods to pay $550K in back wages to 403 female applicants at Nebraska facility after US Labor Department finds hiring discrimination

 Hormel Foods Corp. has agreed to hire 37 women with retroactive seniority and pay $550,000 in back wages to 403 female job applicants denied entry-level production positions at its Fremont hog-processing facility. The global food manufacturer’s action resolves U.S. Department of Labor findings that the company – a large federal contractor – discriminated in hiring against women in violation of Executive Order 11246.

The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found Hormel’s selection practices discriminated against qualified female applicants for production positions from February 2008 to February 2009. In a scheduled compliance review, OFCCP also found that the company failed to keep required records related to its hiring practices. While not admitting liability, Hormel agreed to a settlement resolving these findings.

A previous review of Jennie-O Turkey Stores, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hormel Foods, resulted in a settlement on June 15, 2016 in which Jennie-O agreed to hire 53 women and pay $491,861 in back wages to 339 female applicants denied entry-level jobs at its Willmar, Minnesota, turkey processing plant.

Since the current review began, Hormel and its subsidiaries have received federal contracts as a food supplier to the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Defense. The company produces meat and poultry items – including frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable products – distributed throughout the country. The Fremont facility processes hogs for various Hormel products.

Based in Austin, Minnesota, Hormel Foods Corp. is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of food and meat products for consumers globally. The company has 14 main manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and 20,000 employees worldwide. Its subsidiaries’ products are sold under the Applegate, Cytosport, Dan’s Prize, Farmer John, Hormel Foods International, Jennie-O and MegaMax Foods brands.

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OFCCP – January 2017

Ameriprise Financial, Inc. to settle discrimination charges, pay $128K in back pay, interest to 20 black employees

One of the nation’s leading financial planning companies discriminated in pay against black employees, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has found.

While not admitting liability, Ameriprise Financial, Inc. has agreed to pay a total of $128,200 in back wages and interest to 20 black employees in unlicensed service professional positions, after an OFCCP compliance review found the company violated Executive Order 11246 by paying black employees who processed routine account service requests less than their similarly situated white counterparts.

At the time of the compliance evaluation, the company under review was known as Ameriprise Bank, FSB, which subsequently reorganized as Ameriprise National Trust Bank and is now known as Ameriprise Financial, Inc. With a nationwide network of 10,000 financial advisors, the company currently offers asset management, advisory and insurance services. The client service delivery unit provides services and transaction processing for advisors and clients. Ameriprise Financial, Inc. is based in Minneapolis.

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EEOC - 1-25-17

Mach Mining and Affiliated Companies to Pay $4.25 Million to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suits

The U.S. EEOC announced today that it has resolved two lawsuits against a group of affiliated coal mining companies that it had accused of hiring practices that effectively excluded women from working in the underground mines and in other coal production positions. The cases were resolved by a single consent decree entered by Senior District Judge J. Phil Gilbert. The decree calls for the mining companies to jointly pay a total of $4.25 million to a group of women applicants who were denied jobs because of sex discrimination. Additionally, the companies have agreed to hiring goals that are expected to result in at least 34 women being hired into coal production jobs in their mines that operate in Illinois.

EEOC filed suit against Marion, Ill.-based Mach Mining, LLC on Sept. 27, 2011 (case number 11-cv-00879-JPG) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in Benton, Ill., after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

During the course of the litigation, a procedural matter - the standard by which courts were to determine whether EEOC had met its obligation to try to resolve cases before bringing suit - was sent to the Seventh Circuit court of appeals and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court for an initial ruling, which was decided by the Supreme Court on April 29, 2015. The litigation of the merits was put on hold while that issue was on appeal. On December 5, 2016, EEOC filed a second lawsuit naming certain affiliates of Mach which, along with Mach, are part of St. Louis-based Foresight Energy. The entities named in the second suit were Foresight Energy Services LLC, Foresight Energy LLC, Foresight Energy LP, Foresight Energy Labor LLC, Hillsboro Energy LLC, Macoupin Energy LLC, MaRyan Mining LLC, M-Class Mining LLC, Patton Mining LLC, Sugar Camp Energy LLC, Viking Mine LLC, and Williamson Energy LLC.

The second suit came from a discrimination charge brought against the companies by EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. The two cases were consolidated for purposes of resolution.

EEOC Chicago District Director Julie Bowman said that she was pleased with the cooperation between EEOC and the Foresight companies in resolving the suits.

"Though it has been some years since EEOC first filed suit, these cases were actually resolved fairly early in the litigation process," said Bowman. "No depositions have yet been taken in the case, sparing both EEOC and the companies the expenditure of significant resources. We were also pleased that Foresight has volunteered to engage the services of a consultant to help ensure that the integration of women miners into the workforce goes smoothly and is successful."

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EEOC - 1-26-17

Papa John’s Pizza To Pay $125,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

The owners of a Farmington, Utah Papa John's Pizza will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Papa John's discriminated against Scott Bonn, who has an intellectual disability, Down syndrome. EEOC alleged that Papa John's employed Bonn successfully at its Farmington location for more than five months and allowed an independently employed and insured job coach to assist him. EEOC further charged that after an operating partner visited the Farmington location and observed Bonn working with the assistance of his job coach, the operating partner ordered Papa John's local management to fire Bonn.

Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities because of their disabilities or from failing to reasonably accommodate their disabilities. In appropriate circumstances, such as those in this lawsuit, the use of a job coach is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. PJ Utah LLC, PJ Cheese, Inc., PJ United, Inc., Case No. 2:14-cv-00695-TC) in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, Papa John's is required to pay $125,000 to Bonn, review its equal employment opportunity policies, conduct training for management and human resources employees for its restaurants in Utah, and establish a new recruitment program for individuals with disabilities in Utah.

"Employers must understand that they cannot refuse to provide an accommodation to individuals with intellectual disabilities," said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "Scott Bonn is an incredible person and he loves working. He loved his job at Papa John's. Working gives all of us meaning and purpose in our lives. Employers should embrace workers like Scott who work with such joy. I want employers to know that their obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation includes allowing a job coach at the workplace, if needed, absent undue hardship. The ADA is intended to ensure that each person with an intellectual disability has a right to work and be evaluated as an individual-not on the basis of his or her disability."

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EEOC - 1-27-17

Hospman Settles EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

 Hospman LLC will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, Hospman fired several black employees in August 2012 after taking over management responsibility of a Fort Myers hotel. The EEOC charged that Jose Carvalho, Hospman's former chief executive officer, ordered the housekeeping supervisor, Tinica Jones, to terminate all of the housekeepers - all but one of whom were black - because he did not work with "those kind of people." Carvalho also asked Jones about her race and, upon learning that she was black, fired her as well. Risha Stewart, the only black front desk attendant, was also terminated, while other non-black front desk workers were allowed to continue their employment.

Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against Hospman, LLC (Case No. 2:15-cv-00419-JES-CM) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree resolving the EEOC's claims, Hospman will pay $35,000 to be distributed among the five discrimination victims. Hospman will also revise policies regarding race discrimination complaints as set forth in its employee handbook; conduct annual training of its managers and supervisors on the requirements of Title VII; post a notice about the lawsuit for its employees; and report to the EEOC regarding complaints of race discrimination and the company's employment practices.​___________________________

11-15-16:  EEOC:

OnSite Solutions to Pay $50,000 to Settle Race Discrimination Charges

Manager Replaced Black Workers With Whites and Hispanics In Order to "Sprinkle a Little Salt," Federal Agency Charged

Automobile detailing business OnSite Solutions, LLC will pay $50,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. EEOC charged that OnSite Solutions and two other entities were liable for racially discriminatory conduct by an affiliated company, On Sight K.C., LLC, which performed automobile detailing services for Joe Cooper Ford in Midwest City, Okla.

According to EEOC's lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Onsite Solutions, LLC, Dealership Management Services, Inc. and DMS-OK, Inc., 5:15-cv-01066-C), filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in 2015, On Sight K.C. demoted one employee and fired three others because they were African-American.

EEOC said that On Sight's area manager told Douglas Williams, the African-American manager of its detailing crew at Joe Cooper Ford, that On Sight wanted to "sprinkle a little salt" at the worksite. The area manager explained that he meant terminating black employees and replacing them with "whites and Mexicans." Within a few days, Williams was demoted and replaced by a Hispanic manager, who then fired three African-American detailers and hired one Hispanic and two Caucasian employees.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race. Williams reported On Sight's conduct to EEOC. After EEOC began its investigation, On Sight dissolved its business and divided its clients between OnSite Solutions, LLC and two other related entities. The three companies shared a combination of owners, employees, and clients with the original On Sight. EEOC's claims against the other two defendants - Dealership Management Services, Inc., and DMS-OK, Inc. - are still pending and were not resolved by this consent decree.

In addition to monetary relief for the four employees, the three-year consent decree resolving the claims against OnSite Solutions enjoins the company from discriminating against employees based on race in the future. The decree also requires the company to take specific actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including revising its equal employment opportunity policies, posting and distributing an anti-discrimination notice to employees, and training management and supervisory employees.
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11-15-16:  EEOC

Georgia Power to Pay over $1.5 Million to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Company Refused to Hire Applicants and Fired Employees Based on their Disabilities, Federal Agency Charged

Georgia Power Company, an electric utility company headquartered in Atlanta, will pay $1,586,500 to settle a class disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC filed suit in 2013, charging that Georgia Power Company violated federal law by refusing to hire applicants and firing employees based on their disabilities or perceived disabilities. According to EEOC's complaint, in some cases, Georgia Power disregarded the opinions of treating physicians who supported the employees' and applicants' ability to work. Rather than independently evaluating each employee or applicant, Georgia Power simply refused to hire disabled applicants or return employees to work following a medically related absence, the agency alleged. EEOC said that in other cases, Georgia Power automatically disqualified employees and applicants under its seizure policy or its drug and alcohol policy, without individually assessing the employees' or applicants' ability to work. The company's discriminatory policies and practices affected 24 individuals, EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who have actual disabilities, have a record of a disability or whom the employer perceives as having an actual disability. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Georgia Power Company, Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-03225-AT) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit was filed with the court on November 15, 2016. In addition to monetary relief totaling $1,586,500, Georgia Power has agreed to change both its seizure policy and its drug and alcohol policy to ensure compliance with the ADA. Georgia Power also agreed to provide equal employment opportunity training to its employees and to post anti-discrimination notices at its facilities. In addition, the three-year decree requires Georgia Power to be subject to reporting and monitoring requirements. This will include the obligation to report to EEOC each time that Georgia Power does not hire an applicant because of a disability or does not allow an employee to return to work because of a disability.
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11-10-16:  EEOC:

Labor Ready Northeast, Inc. To Pay $72,500 To Settle EEOC Racial and Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Temporary Employees Subjected To A Sexually and Racially Hostile Work Environment And Subsequently Discharged In Retaliation For Complaining, Federal Agency Charged

Labor Ready Northeast, Inc. (Labor Ready) will pay $72,500 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a race and sex harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy entered a consent decree on November 9, 2016 settling the case for both monetary and injunctive relief. EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. EEOC v. Labor Ready Northeast, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:15-CV-01251-CRE, on September 25, 2015, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Division.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Labor Ready's Washington, PA branch sent two female employees to a single-day work assignment in Metz, West Virginia at the job site of one of Labor Ready's customers, Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration. While they were at the job site, two of the customer's male employees subjected the women to offensive race and sex-biased comments, including racial epithets and remarks directed toward one of the women, who is multiracial, and overtly sexual statements; groping one woman's breasts, and attempting to physically intimidate the two women. EEOC also charged that the two women made multiple complaints to Labor Ready about the harassing actions of the customer's employees and the Washington branch manager's inaction regarding those complaints, but instead of investigating the women's complaints and taking corrective action, Labor Ready retaliated against them by denying them a promised work assignment and firing them for their complaints.

Harassment based on race and sex violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also forbids employers from firing or otherwise retaliating against employees for opposing discriminatory harassment, including making harassment complaints.

In addition to monetary payment, the Consent Decree requires that Labor Ready's procedures and its training for certain personnel concerning harassment complaints must contain specific components, such as requiring staff to personally investigate allegations made against customers and their employees regardless of whether the customer has investigated, including interviewing customer employees; ensuring that customers undertake appropriate corrective action to prevent their employees from harassing Labor Ready employees and that Labor Ready will take various corrective actions against customers who fail to do so; monitoring the work environment after corrective actions have been taken; and corporate auditing of harassment investigations and proposed actions based on those investigations. In addition, Labor Ready will be required to make reports to EEOC concerning future harassment complaints, resulting investigations, and remedial actions taken in response to them.
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11-10-16:  EEOC: 

Bentonville McDonald’s To Pay $103,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Restaurant Fired Employee Because of His HIV Status, Federal Agency Charged

A McDonald's restaurant owned and operated by Mathews Management Company and Peach Orchard, Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., will pay $103,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC's lawsuit challenged McDonald's treatment of an employee when the restaurant fired him within days of learning of his HIV-positive status. The suit also charged that the companies' policy of requiring all employees to report the use of prescription medication is also unlawful.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed suit (Mathews Management and Peach Orchard, Inc. d/b/a McDonald's Store # 32295, Civil Action No. 5:16-CV-05166TLB) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

After EEOC filed suit, the former employee intervened in the case with his own lawsuit and was represented by Joshua L. Bailey of the Hogue Law Firm in Fayetteville, Ark.

In addition to the monetary payment, the companies will also conduct disability training for its managers and revise their policy requiring mandatory disclosure of prescription medications.

"EEOC remains committed to protecting employees from disability discrimination on the job," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of the agency's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "EEOC commends the companies for working with us to quickly resolve this matter prior to trial."

Mathews Management Company owns and operates 34 McDonald's restaurants, including all of the restaurants in Northwest Arkansas and adjacent areas in Missouri and Oklahoma. This includes the store located in Bentonville.

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11-15-16:   EEOC:

J.B. Hunt Transport Settles EEOC Religious Discrimination Charge for $260,000

Sikh Applicants Denied Religious Accommodation During the Hiring Process, Federal Agency Charges

J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America, will pay $260,000 and provide other relief to settle charges of race, national origin and religious discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The charges filed with EEOC alleged that four East Indian Sikh applicants were denied a religious accommodation during the hiring process when they requested an alternative to the company's hair sample drug testing policy. Three of the four applicants were denied hire at the South Gate, Calif., location. The fourth applicant was screened out at the pre-screening phone call prior to even having a face-to-face meeting at the South Gate hub. The company is headquartered out of Lowell, Ark.

The charges further asserted that the refusal of the religious accommodation led to the denial of hire for the four applicants. EEOC investigated the allegations and found reasonable cause to believe that J.B. Hunt failed to provide a religious accommodation and failed to hire a class of individuals due to their race, national origin and religion, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The charges were filed by the Sikh Coalition on behalf of the four Sikh applicants. One of the five articles of faith for Sikhs is maintaining uncut hair.

Without admitting liability, J.B. Hunt agreed to enter into a two-year conciliation agreement with EEOC and the alleged victims, thereby avoiding litigation. During the course of the investigation, J.B. Hunt revised its written policies and procedures regarding discrimination and religious accommodations, and established an alternative to the drug testing by hair sample for those who need an accommodation. Aside from the monetary relief, the company will extend a conditional offer of employment to all complainants in this case. J.B. Hunt further agreed to designate an equal employment opportunity consultant, develop written complaint procedures, and conduct training for all employees who participate in the hiring, compliance, or internal grievance process. EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.

11-1-16:  EEOC:

Sharp Healthcare To Pay $90,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Job Applicant Seeking a Surgical Technologist Position Was Perceived as Disabled and Denied Employment, Federal Agency Charged

Sharp Healthcare, one of the largest private employers in San Diego County will pay $90,000 and furnish remedial relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to EEOC, in 2012, Sandra Juarez applied for a surgical scrub technician position at the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion, a surgical center in San Diego. The applicant was offered the position contingent upon passing a post-offer medical examination. However, EEOC said that Sharp rescinded its employment offer after the exam due to a perceived disability. Sharp regarded Juarez as disabled due to a minor ankle ailment that would not have affected her job performance, EEOC said. After just a few months, the applicant was hired into the same position at another medical facility.

As part of the settlement by consent decree, Sharp, in addition to paying $90,000 to the job applicant, will retain an external equal employment monitor; review and revise disability accommodation policies and practices to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; provide annual disability discrimination training for employees, supervisors, and managers who are involved in the accommodation process; post an employee notice; and undertake record keeping and reporting to EEOC. Among other things, the external equal employment monitor will review Sharp's policies and practices and assist Sharp with ADA compliance.

"We have seen an increase in employers failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes San Diego in its jurisdiction. "We encourage employers to ensure proper training regarding the hiring process to prevent disability discrimination and possible legal liability."

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10-4-16

Greektown Casino Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination

Employer Failed to Grant Leave Extension for Employee With Stress-Anxiety Disorder And Fired Him Instead, Federal Agency Charges

DETROIT - A Detroit casino operator violated federal law by denying a reasonable accommodation to and then firing an employee because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Michael Lepine was a pit manager in the table games department for Greektown Casino. In February 2012 he was hospitalized for his stress-anxiety disorder and requested a leave extension until April 30. The employer refused the extension and fired him on April 2.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of a disability. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Greektown Casino, L.L.C., Case No. 2:16-cv-13540 ) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Lepine in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

"Mr. Lepine was an excellent employee, but according to EEOC's investigation the management chose to deny him a reasonable accommodation and fire him simply because of his condition," said EEOC Trial Attorney Dale Price. "EEOC will vigorously pursue such violations of the ADA."
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7-22-16    -   EEOC:

Federal Judge Awards $1,470,000 in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Case Against Z Foods

Workers Who Were Sexually Harassed and Fired for Complaining Vindicated in Court's Ruling

FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge has ordered Z Foods, Inc., once one of the largest dried fruit processors in the United States, to pay $1,470,000 in damages in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. 

EEOC had charged that Z Foods allowed male supervisors to sexually harass a class of female employees and fired male and female employees when they complained about the sexual harassment. The court awarded the maximum allowed by the statute, offset by a previous settlement, and ruled that the claimants suffered severe emotional distress as a result of actions of Z Foods.  

The court found that two supervisors for the Madera, Calif.-based company subjected multiple female farmworkers to ongoing sexual harassment. The sexual harassment took the form of conditioning promotions and employment on sexual favors, continuous sexual advances, stalking female employees and unwanted physical touching and leering. Male employees, who witnessed the egregious harassment, complained about the abuse alongside their female employees. These employees were retaliated against and discharged soon after their complaint.

After an investigation, EEOC filed suit against both Z Foods and its predecessor, Zoria Farms, in September 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleging that the sexual harassment and subsequent retaliation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (EEOC v. Zoria Foods, Inc., Z Foods, Case No. 1:13-at-00698). In April 2015, Zoria Farms settled the EEOC claim against it for $330,000 and a five-year consent decree containing injunctive remedies.

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​August ​​​2016


There is at least one top manager at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who doesn’t understand the definition of sexual harassment.  This is what Peter Jutro said about the allegations against him, “It is true that I have hugged many people, both men and women, and have done so since childhood. My parents were German Jewish refugees who detested the coldness of their former country in the 1930s and strongly encouraged this warmer behavior in me. I also learned to sometimes kiss a person on the cheek or head as a greeting or farewell. In no case was there ever a sexual component to this. I recognize in retrospect that my behavior might have made someone uncomfortable and I feel bad and embarrassed about that, but it was never my intent. There may be actual sexual harassment at EPA, but I was not a part of it.”


It appears this management official believes it is okay to do whatever he is comfortable doing because he considers it his culture.  He couldn't be more wrong.

In the year 2016 to have a federal government official not understand the basics of the sex discrimination laws is appalling.  Check out the story:  http://www.newsweek.com/epa-sexual-harassment-allegations-495392


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6-28-16 EEOC:  IFCO Systems Will Pay $202,200 In Landmark Settlement Of One Of EEOC’s First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits:    Company Fired Worker Who Complained About Sexual Orientation Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems, will pay $202,200 and provide significant equitable relief to settle one of EEOC's first lawsuits alleging sex discrimination based on sexual orientation.

EEOC charged that a lesbian employee at IFCO's Baltimore facility was repeatedly harassed by her supervisor because of her sexual orientation. Her supervisor made numerous comments to her regarding her sexual orientation and appearance, such as "I want to turn you back into a woman" and "You would look good in a dress," according to the suit. EEOC charged that the supervisor also made sexually suggestive gestures to her. IFCO retaliated against the female employee by firing her just days after she complained to management and called the employee hotline to report the harassment, according to the suit.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of sex and retaliation. As the federal law enforcement agency charged with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, EEOC has concluded that harassment and other discrimination because of sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination. EEOC filed suit in U.S. Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (EEOC v. Pallet Companies, d/b/a IFCO, Civil Action No. Case 1:16-cv-00595-CCB). On the same day, EEOC also filed an unrelated suit against Scott Medical Health Center in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Case 2:16-cv-00225-CB), alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation. EEOC filed both lawsuits after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"This consent decree marks EEOC's first resolution of a suit challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation under Title VII," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez, "EEOC is committed to ensuring that individuals are not subjected to discriminatory treatment in workplaces based on their sexual orientation and looks forward to the day that this fundamental right is widely recognized."

The two-year consent decree requires IFCO to pay $182,200 in monetary relief to the female employee and donate $20,000 to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to support the Human Rights Campaign's Workplace Equality Program. The decree enjoins IFCO from engaging in sex discrimination or retaliation in the future. The company will retain an expert on sexual orientation, gender identity, and transgender training to assist in developing a training program for IFCO's top managers, supervisors and employees on LGBT workplace issues. IFCO will also distribute its equal employment opportunity policies and toll-free employee hotline number and Web address to all employees in its north region. The company will provide the female employee with a letter of reference. Finally, IFCO will also post a notice about the settlement and report to EEOC on its compliance with the decree, including how it handled any complaints of sexual orientation discrimination.

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "EEOC is committed to ensuring that no employee or applicant is discriminated against or harassed based on sexual orientation."
 

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "We commend IFCO for working with us to resolve this case amicably and without engaging in protracted litigation. In addition to the monetary relief, this landmark settlement ensures that all IFCO employees and applicants are protected against discrimination because of sexual orientation. We encourage other employers to follow IFCO's example and implement similarly comprehensive policies and training programs to prevent workplace discrimination against members of the LGBT community."

Addressing emerging and developing issues, especially coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan. The agency has posted materials on its website relating to coverage under Title VII for LGBT individuals. In addition, in June 2015, the agency, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Special Counsel, and the Merit Systems Protection Board, developed a guide for federal agencies on addressing sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in federal civilian employment.

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8-2-16  ~ EEOC:  Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise to Pay $150,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Doughnut Franchise Manager Sexually Harassed Young Female Employees, Some in Their Teens, and Retaliated Against Worker Who Resisted Advances, Federal Agency Charged

NEW YORK - Hillcrest Marshall, Inc., which owns multiple Dunkin' Donuts franchises in Westchester County, N.Y., will pay $150,000 to former employees to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Hillcrest Marshall violated federal law by subjecting female employees, some of whom were in their teens at the time, to sexual harassment by a store manager at one of its Dunkin' Donuts locations. For example, EEOC said, the store manager talked about his genitals, tried to kiss a female worker who was 20 years old at the time, and pressured her to have sex. The manager hit her, cursed and yelled at her regularly due to being rejected by her. When she contacted the police, she was fired in retaliation for resisting his advances, EEOC said.

Sexual harassment and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Hillcrest Marshall Inc. d/b/a/ Dunkin' Donuts, CV 07293) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York following an investigation, and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the terms of the three-year consent decree settling the suit, Hillcrest Marshall ceased to employ the manager and agreed not to rehire him. In addition to the payment of $150,000 to the harassment victims, Hillcrest Marshall will train the managers at all of their stores of their obligations under the law, institute an effective anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure for all of its employees, and designate a senior manager to receive all complaints of discrimination and harassment.

"Employers need to implement strong policies so victims can report sexual harassment without reprisal, and we are pleased Hillcrest Marshall has agreed to do so," said EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry.

EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein added, "It took tremendous courage for these young women, some of whom were in their teens when they worked at Dunkin' Donuts, to stand up to their manager. EEOC is here to protect vulnerable young workers like these women who suffered workplace harassment."

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8-10-16  ~  EEOC:  Amtrak to Pay $112,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Federal Agency Charged Railroad Company Refused to Hire Qualified Machinist Due to Epilepsy

SEATTLE -- The Washington, D.C.-based National Passenger Railroad Corporation, better known as Amtrak, will pay $112,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's suit, Amtrak withdrew its job offer of machinist journeyman at its Seattle yard when it learned Shawn Moe had a history of three epileptic seizures over the course of his life. Amtrak cited safety concerns, despite Moe's record of safely working a similar job and despite his neurologist verifying to Amtrak that his epilepsy was successfully controlled on medication, that he had been seizure-free for years, and that he was able to safely perform the essential functions of the job without limitation while on medication.

"The fact that I have epilepsy has never prevented me from safely doing my job, not in the years I worked for another locomotive company before I applied to Amtrak, and not at the railroad machinist job I found after Amtrak took back its job offer," said Moe. "Amtrak's decision to withdraw its offer hit my family at a particularly vulnerable time because my wife and I just had our first baby. I thought, what if other employers react as Amtrak did and I can no longer practice my trade? How would I support my family?"

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of his disability, and also requires an employer to assess a worker's actual ability to perform job functions where potential safety concerns are raised. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington [Case No. 2:15-cv-01269] after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides $112,000 to Moe in lost wages and compensatory damages. The decree also requires Amtrak to train its staff on hiring obligations and assessing reasonable accommodations under the ADA. Amtrak will also implement and disseminate a modified ADA policy, and will post a notice for employees about the consent decree and employees' rights under the ADA.

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8-11-16 ~ EEOC:  Xerox State Healthcare, LLC Will Pay $35,000 To Resolve EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Healthcare Company Denied Applicant an Accommodation for Pre-Employment Drug Testing, Federal Agency Charged

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Xerox State Healthcare, LLC ("Xerox Healthcare"), a healthcare company that offers healthcare program administration services for programs such as long-term care and pharmacy benefits management, has agreed to pay $35,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the company failed to grant an employee with a disability a reasonable accommodation which would have allowed her to complete the company's required pre-employment drug screening.

In its complaint, EEOC alleges that Victoria Dozier, who is diagnosed with end stage renal disease and receives hemodialysis treatment as a result, received a written employment offer from Xerox Healthcare in September 2014. The employment offer was contingent upon successful completion of a pre-employment drug screening. Although Dozier was willing to undergo drug screening, she informed both the company and the lab representative at the drug testing facility that her disability prevented her from providing a urine sample. The complaint alleges Dozier also informed both Xerox Healthcare and the lab representative that her dialysis center would perform a different kind of drug test in place of the urine testing. Xerox Healthcare denied the request and Dozier was not hired.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA") requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees, as well as qualified applicants with disabilities. EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Xerox State Healthcare, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-00427) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency's conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief to Dozier, the company agreed to a two-year consent decree requiring it to notify employees and applicants that they are entitled to reasonable accommodations in connection with drug screening, if necessary. The decree also requires the company to annually train certain recruiters and recruiting managers on the requirements of the ADA, specifically, that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to individuals covered by the ADA, including applicants.

"The ADA's protections apply to a company's applicants just as they do to existing employees," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "When a company is aware that a qualified applicant needs a reasonable accommodation in order to complete an aspect of the hiring process, the company must grant that request unless it poses an undue hardship for the company."

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7-22-16 - EEOC: 

Federal Judge Awards $1,470,000 in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Case Against Z Foods

Workers Who Were Sexually Harassed and Fired for Complaining Vindicated in Court's Ruling

FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge has ordered Z Foods, Inc., once one of the largest dried fruit processors in the United States, to pay $1,470,000 in damages in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. 

EEOC had charged that Z Foods allowed male supervisors to sexually harass a class of female employees and fired male and female employees when they complained about the sexual harassment. The court awarded the maximum allowed by the statute, offset by a previous settlement, and ruled that the claimants suffered severe emotional distress as a result of actions of Z Foods.  

The court found that two supervisors for the Madera, Calif.-based company subjected multiple female farmworkers to ongoing sexual harassment. The sexual harassment took the form of conditioning promotions and employment on sexual favors, continuous sexual advances, stalking female employees and unwanted physical touching and leering. Male employees, who witnessed the egregious harassment, complained about the abuse alongside their female employees. These employees were retaliated against and discharged soon after their complaint.

After an investigation, EEOC filed suit against both Z Foods and its predecessor, Zoria Farms, in September 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleging that the sexual harassment and subsequent retaliation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (EEOC v. Zoria Foods, Inc., Z Foods, Case No. 1:13-at-00698). In April 2015, Zoria Farms settled the EEOC claim against it for $330,000 and a five-year consent decree containing injunctive remedies.

"EEOC continues to see sexual harassment and retaliation in the agricultural industry," said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District. "The solidarity that male employees displayed here in supporting and speaking up along with their female co-workers about the severe harassment is a critical component of remedying the pervasive problem of sexual harassment. The court's findings vindicate the courage it took for these workers to stand up and demand a workplace free of sexual harassment."

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Commentary:

Read this prior to reading the below Press Release.  What is most interesting about this case is that the employer did nothing after being told about the persistent, serious harassment.  Whether  the harassment is considered illegal or not...why would any employer allow this form of behavior in the workplace? This is as much a sexual harassment case simply based upon gender as much as it is a sexual harassment case based upon sexual orientation.  C~


PRESS RELEASE from the EEOC:     6-28-16
IFCO Systems Will Pay $202,200 In Landmark Settlement Of One Of EEOC’s First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits / Company Fired Worker Who Complained About Sexual Orientation Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

The U.S. EEOC announced today that Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems, will pay $202,200 and provide significant equitable relief to settle one of EEOC's first lawsuits alleging sex discrimination based on sexual orientation.

EEOC charged that a lesbian employee at IFCO's Baltimore facility was repeatedly harassed by her supervisor because of her sexual orientation. Her supervisor made numerous comments to her regarding her sexual orientation and appearance, such as "I want to turn you back into a woman" and "You would look good in a dress," according to the suit. EEOC charged that the supervisor also made sexually suggestive gestures to her. IFCO retaliated against the female employee by firing her just days after she complained to management and called the employee hotline to report the harassment, according to the suit.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of sex and retaliation. As the federal law enforcement agency charged with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, EEOC has concluded that harassment and other discrimination because of sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination. EEOC filed suit in U.S. Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (EEOC v. Pallet Companies, d/b/a IFCO, Civil Action No. Case 1:16-cv-00595-CCB). On the same day, EEOC also filed an unrelated suit against Scott Medical Health Center in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Case 2:16-cv-00225-CB), alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation. EEOC filed both lawsuits after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"This consent decree marks EEOC's first resolution of a suit challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation under Title VII," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez, "EEOC is committed to ensuring that individuals are not subjected to discriminatory treatment in workplaces based on their sexual orientation and looks forward to the day that this fundamental right is widely recognized."

The two-year consent decree requires IFCO to pay $182,200 in monetary relief to the female employee and donate $20,000 to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to support the Human Rights Campaign's Workplace Equality Program. The decree enjoins IFCO from engaging in sex discrimination or retaliation in the future. The company will retain an expert on sexual orientation, gender identity, and transgender training to assist in developing a training program for IFCO's top managers, supervisors and employees on LGBT workplace issues. IFCO will also distribute its equal employment opportunity policies and toll-free employee hotline number and Web address to all employees in its north region. The company will provide the female employee with a letter of reference. Finally, IFCO will also post a notice about the settlement and report to EEOC on its compliance with the decree, including how it handled any complaints of sexual orientation discrimination.

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "EEOC is committed to ensuring that no employee or applicant is discriminated against or harassed based on sexual orientation."

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "We commend IFCO for working with us to resolve this case amicably and without engaging in protracted litigation. In addition to the monetary relief, this landmark settlement ensures that all IFCO employees and applicants are protected against discrimination because of sexual orientation. We encourage other employers to follow IFCO's example and implement similarly comprehensive policies and training programs to prevent workplace discrimination against members of the LGBT community."

Addressing emerging and developing issues, especially coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan. The agency has posted materials on its website relating to coverage under Title VII for LGBT individuals. In addition, in June 2015, the agency, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Special Counsel, and the Merit Systems Protection Board, developed a guide for federal agencies on addressing sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in federal civilian employment.

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/16 – OFCCP:  Subsidiary of Ashland Inc., leading chemical company, settles charges of hiring discrimination with US Labor Department - Federal contractor, Aqualon Company, to pay 660 African-American applicants

A subsidiary of one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies has entered into a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to resolve allegations of race-based hiring discrimination.

The Aqualon Company, a subsidiary of global leader Ashland Inc., entered into the agreement after OFCCP determined that – from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012 – Aqualon failed to provide equal employment opportunities to 660 African Americans in the Richmond metropolitan area who applied for entry-level transition operator positions at the company’s facility in Hopewell.

OFCCP found that the company’s action violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating based on race or color in their employment practices. Ashland has multiple federal contracts worth more than $37 million with the U.S. Department of Navy, the U.S. Department of Army and other federal agencies.

“OFCCP is committed to ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors conduct hiring, promotions, terminations and compensation fairly, without respect to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status,” said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. “We strongly encourage employers to take proactive steps to come into compliance with the law to prevent workplace discrimination.”

In its scheduled compliance evaluation, OFCCP found Aqualon used a discriminatory test as part of its selection process that adversely affected African-American applicants. The test was not job-related and did not meet the requirements of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company, which has not admitted liability, will pay $175,000 in back pay and interest to the African-American applicants. Aqualon also agreed to hire four of the African-American applicants. Additionally, it has agreed to discontinue use of the test in question for its entry-level positions, and to revise its hiring and recordkeeping practices to comply with Executive Order 11246 and equal employment regulations applicable to federal contractors. The agreement resolves all violations.  Aqualon’s parent company is based in Covington, Kentucky.

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6/16 – EEOC:  Two Hawk Employment Services To Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit Employee Not Hired Because of Illegal Inquiry About Medical Information, Federal Agency Charged

Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC, a Lumberton, N.C., temporary employment agency, will pay $30,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. EEOC had charged that Two Hawk violated federal law when it made illegal medical inquiries of job applicants and failed to retain employment applications as required by federal law. The suit also alleged Two Hawk failed to hire an applicant because she disclosed her disability during the application process.

According to EEOC's complaint in the lawsuit, Nicole Bullard applied for employment with Two Hawk in May 2013. Bullard was required to fill out a medical history form during the application process. The complaint states that the form asked Bullard to identify medical conditions she has or had in the past, as well as to disclose whether she was taking any medications that might affect her ability to perform the essential functions of the job she sought. The form further asked Bullard to state whether she had physical or mental conditions that require accommodation, and whether she had any restrictions in activity. EEOC's complaint indicates that in response to the application's questions, Bullard disclosed that she was taking two prescription medications.

Thereafter, EEOC said, Bullard received a conditional job offer from Two Hawk. During her orientation for work, Bullard was questioned about her medications, and provided information in response to those questions. The following day, Bullard's job offer was rescinded and Bullard was told she had not passed a "pre-screening test." The questions asked during the application process, as well as the alleged refusal to hire Bullard due to the medical information she had disclosed, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to EEOC.

EEOC's lawsuit also alleged that Two Hawk failed to retain applications and other documents related to hiring for one year as required by the agency's record-keeping regulations, in violation of 29 C.F.R. § 1602.14. Such alleged conduct also violates the ADA, which requires employers to make and preserve records relevant to the determination of whether unlawful employment practices have been or are being committed.

In addition to the payment of $30,000 in damages to Bullard, the three-year consent decree settling the suit requires that Two Hawk develop an anti-discrimination policy that includes the ADA and its prohibition against disability discrimination. In addition, Two Hawk will provide annual training to its corporate and branch office staff on the requirements of the ADA and its prohibition against illegal medical inquiries. Two Hawk will also post an employee notice concerning the lawsuit and employee rights under federal anti-discrimination laws. In addition to providing monetary relief to Hunt and Locklear, the company entered into a two-year consent decree requiring it to provide training on retaliation to all supervisors, managers, and employees at its North Carolina and South Carolina salons. The company must also report the action it takes in response to any employee's complaint about discrimination. The company will also post a notice to employees concerning their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws EEOC enforces.

 

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6-7-16EEOC:  Regis Corporation / Smart Style Family Hair Salon to Pay $90,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit Hair Salon Fired Employees for Complaining About Race Discrimination, Federal Agency Charges

Regis Corporation, doing business as Smart Style Family Hair Salon, a Minnesota-based company that operates a chain of hair salons, will pay a total of $90,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Hope Hunt and Annie Mae Locklear worked as hair stylists at the company's salon in Pembroke, N.C. According to EEOC's suit, in June 2014, Hunt and Locklear were told by the soon-to-be salon manager that she did not want African-Americans working in the salon. In July 2014, Hunt and Locklear told an African-American candidate for an open position in the salon that they believed the manager did not want to hire her because of her race. On or around Aug. 14, the company fired Hunt and Locklear, claiming that they had lied when they told the black candidate she was not hired for that reason. EEOC contends Hunt and Locklear were discharged because they opposed what they reasonably believed to be an unlawful employment practice.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee who complains about discrimination. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division (EEOC v. Regis Corporation d/b/a Smart Style Family Hair Salon, Civil Action No. 7:15-CV-00151-F) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency's conciliation process.

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5-31-16 - EEOC
Prime, Inc. to Pay Over $3 Million After Court Ruled it Used Discriminatory Hiring Practices Trucking Giant's Same-Sex Trainer Policy Kept Women Drivers Out of Jobs, Federal Agency Charged

New Prime Trucking, Inc., one of the nation's largest trucking companies, will pay over $3.1 million and will make job offers to women who were victims of the company's unlawful discriminatory hiring policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. The payments follow an earlier court order finding that the company violated federal law by discriminating against female truck driver applicants when it required that they be trained only by female trainers.

According to the court's prior order, the company, which does business as Prime Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination when it denied employment opportunities to women through its same-sex trainer policy. Prime adopted its policy in 2004 after it was found in a previous EEOC lawsuit to have violated Title VII based upon the sexual harassment of one of its female driver trainees. EEOC filed the present suit against Prime in September 2011 based on a discrimination charge filed by Deanna Roberts Clouse. Because Prime had very few female trainers, its same-sex trainer policy forced female trainees to wait extended periods of time, sometimes up to 18 months, for a female trainer to become available, which re­sulted in most female driver trainees being denied employment. Male applicants were promptly assigned to male trainers. Prime ceased using its same-sex trainer policy in 2013 as a result of the agency's suit.

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Kroger to Pay $33,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Grocery Giant Fired Cashier at Howell Store Because of Back Impairment, Federal Agency Charged


EEOC - The Kroger Company of Michigan will pay $33,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the lawsuit, Kroger allowed an employee at its Howell, Mich., store, who was hired as a stock person, to work as a cashier as a reasonable accommodation for her back impairment. However, a few months later, after it learned that her restrictions were permanent, Kroger fired her, EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, EEOC sued Kroger in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. The Kroger Company of Michigan, Case No. 2:14-cv-13757).

In addition to the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the suit provides for injunctive relief, training on the ADA, and reporting to EEOC.

"Federal law expressly prohibits employers from refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities," explained EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. "An employer must always seriously consider whether it can make an accommodation before downgrading or firing employees," she added.

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Prime, Inc. to Pay Over $3 Million After Court Ruled it Used Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Trucking Giant's Same-Sex Trainer Policy Kept Women Drivers Out of Jobs, Federal Agency Charged

5/31/16   -   EEOC:   New Prime Trucking, Inc., one of the nation's largest trucking companies, will pay over $3.1 million and will make job offers to women who were victims of the company's unlawful discriminatory hiring policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. The payments follow an earlier court order finding that the company violated federal law by discriminating against female truck driver applicants when it required that they be trained only by female trainers.

According to the court's prior order, the company, which does business as Prime Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination when it denied employment opportunities to women through its same-sex trainer policy. Prime adopted its policy in 2004 after it was found in a previous EEOC lawsuit to have violated Title VII based upon the sexual harassment of one of its female driver trainees. EEOC filed the present suit against Prime in September 2011 based on a discrimination charge filed by Deanna Roberts Clouse. Because Prime had very few female trainers, its same-sex trainer policy forced female trainees to wait extended periods of time, sometimes up to 18 months, for a female trainer to become available, which re­sulted in most female driver trainees being denied employment. Male applicants were promptly assigned to male trainers. Prime ceased using its same-sex trainer policy in 2013 as a result of the agency's suit.

After the court's order on liability, Prime agreed to pay $250,000 to Clouse to resolve her claims. Last month, Prime agreed via consent decree to pay over $2.8 million in lost wages and damages for 63 other women who were denied job opportunities. EEOC was unable to determine the precise number or identities of all women affected by Prime's unlawful policy because, as the court found, Prime failed to "preserve the lists [of women who were put on waiting lists] and cooperate in identifying women impacted by the policy …" The order on liability and consent decree were entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (EEOC v. New Prime Trucking, Inc. Civil Action No.6:11-CV-03367 MDH).

On May 27, the court permanently enjoined Prime from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of sex and ordered that Prime shall not implement a same-sex trainer policy or practice that creates barriers to the entry or advancement of female driver applicants or employees. The court's order will ensure the company does not adopt a same-sex trainer policy again. The court also ordered Prime to give priority hiring consideration to the class members and make them immediately eligible for benefits without a waiting period.

"I am pleased by this latest settlement in a series of EEOC cases to address hiring barriers for women in the workplace," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. "Women who were denied jobs will now be compensated and have the opportunity to be hired."

Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney of EEOC's St. Louis District, said, "When women break into male-dominated fields, they are often trained by men. We should not expect that these women will be sexually harassed. It is disrespectful to men everywhere to assume that they will harass women if they work together in close quarters. Rather, employers have a responsibility to adopt strict anti-harassment policies and practices and enforce them so that all employees - regardless of sex - can work and succeed together."

EEOC St. Louis District Director James R. Neely, Jr. added, "Being male or female is not relevant to whether a person can be a good truck driver. While the trucking industry was desperately looking for drivers, Prime locked women out of their workforce rather than focus its efforts on preventing sexual harassment. Moving forward, we hope that Prime will respect the court's injunction and provide equal opportunities to all applicants, without respect to sex."

According to company information, Prime is one of the nation's largest refrigerated, flatbed and tanker carriers. It is based in Springfield, Mo., and employs over 2,000 persons. Prime provides truck-freight services to customers in Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

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5/24/16  -  American Casing & Equipment Will Pay $250,000 to Settle EEOC Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Oilfield Company Fired Filipino Employee for Complaining About Race and National Origin Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC - American Casing & Equipment, Inc., a North Dakota oilfield service company operating in Williston, N.D., will pay $250,000 and provide significant other relief to settle a race and national origin discrimination and retaliation lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Matthew Clark, a Filipino-American, worked for American Casing & Equipment in Williston from November 2012 to January 2014 as a laborer on the "rat hole crew," which included cutting, welding and cementing pipes, drilling holes and putting pipes in the ground, along with other duties. Shortly after he began working, Clark, who is Filipino-American, was harassed by a white manager because of his race and national origin. The harassment included the manager calling Clark a "non-white m----f----r," "non-white guy," "spic," "n----r," "monkey" and "ape." On one occasion, the manager urinated on Clark's legs as he worked under a truck in the shop, EEOC alleged. The harassment was witnessed by Clark's supervisor, but no action was taken to stop it. According to EEOC's lawsuit, Clark complained to the company's safety manager about the harassment, and he was fired in retaliation for his opposition to the abuse.

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McWhite’s Funeral Home to Pay $85,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Owner and Manager Engaged in Severe Sexual Harassment of Female Employees, Retaliated Against Those Who Complained, Federal Agency Charges

EEOC - McWhite's Funeral Home of Fort Lauderdale will pay $85,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, sole owner and manager Albert McWhite, Sr., subjected female employees to constant egregious sexual harassment, creating a work environment permeated with sexual innuendo, unwanted touching and sexual overtures. McWhite encouraged an environment that condoned harassment, which included showing female employees pictures on his cellphone of naked women engaged in sex acts; putting his hand on his crotch and asking a female employee about wanting to take "care of her bills"; making explicit requests for sexual favors of female employees; and engaging in unwanted and, at times, violent touching of female employees, including grabbing breasts and buttocks, and slapping a female employee across the face.

McWhite also retaliated against current and former employees by cutting employee hours or giving negative references to prospective employers, EEOC said. In one case, McWhite misused his personal relationship with a probation officer to intimidate a female employee, on probation for a pre-existing matter unrelated to her employment, who was attempting to seek assistance from EEOC.

Sexual harassment, constructive termination based on sex and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed this suit (EEOC v. McWhite's Funeral Home, Inc., Case 0:15-cv-61997-JIC) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division, following an investigation, and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree resolving EEOC's claims, McWhite's Funeral Home will pay $85,000 to be distributed among the harassment and retaliation victims. McWhite's has also agreed to retain an independent equal employment opportunity consultant to receive and investigate complaints of sex discrimination. Such complaints will also be reported to EEOC. McWhite's also agreed to create a sexual harassment policy to address the sexual harassment at issue in this lawsuit. The company owner and employees will receive training on anti-discrimination laws, specifically sexual harassment, and a notice will be posted to notify employees of this lawsuit and of their rights.

"Albert McWhite, Sr.'s sexual harassment of female employees was constant and overt," said EEOC Miami Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg. "The objective of this settlement is to change the culture of this workplace, allowing female employees to work without stress and fear of enduring sexual harassment and retaliation."

 

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5-19-16

Zoo Printing Agrees to Pay $110,000 to Settle EEOC Disability and Retaliation Discrimination Lawsuit

Company Discriminatorily Fired HIV-Positive Employees,  Federal Agency Charged

EEOC - Zoo Printing, Inc., a commercial printing company headquartered in California with facilities in New Jersey and Kentucky, will pay $110,000 to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's suit, Zoo Printing violated federal law by firing two employees at its Louisville, Ky., facility because they have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). EEOC further alleged that one of the employees, a former human resources assistant, was fired in retaliation for opposing the company's refusal to hire female or applicants with disabilities and the discriminatory termination of an employee with a disability.

Disability discrimination, including firing an employee because of his or her HIV status, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Firing an employee in retaliation for opposing discriminatory employment practices, including against people with disabilities and women, violates the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-00727-DJH) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief to the two terminated employees, the consent decree settling the suit prohibits Zoo Printing from engaging in future discrimination against disabled employees or applicants and from retaliating against individuals who exercise their rights to complain about discrimination or assist in an investigation or discrimination-related proceeding. Zoo Printing must also ensure equal employment opportunities are afforded to employees and applicants, regardless of disability status, as well as post a notice of non-discrimination at its Kentucky facility, provide EEO training to its employees, and make periodic reports to EEOC.

"Firing an employee summarily just because he or she is HIV-positive is not only unfair and counterproductive, it's illegal under federal law," said EEOC Supervisory Attorney Michelle Eisele. "Further, no employer is entitled to punish an employee for standing up to discrimination. EEOC is here to enforce those laws and defend the rights of the victims of such unlawful practices."

EEOC has a long history of enforcing the nondiscrimination rights of individuals with HIV infection in employment. During fiscal year 2014 alone, EEOC resolved almost 200 charges of discrimination based on HIV status, obtaining over $825,000 for job applicants and employees with HIV who were unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations. On Dec. 1, 2015, EEOC issued two publications on the rights of job applicants and employees who have HIV infections.

The EEOC publication Living With HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace Under the ADA explains that applicants and employees are protected from employment discrimination and harassment based on HIV infection, and that individuals with HIV infection have a right to reasonable accommodations at work. It also answers questions about the process for obtaining an accommodation; possible accommodations; the privacy rights of people who have HIV infection; the employer's obligation to keep medical information confidential; and the role of EEOC in enforcing the rights of people with disabilities.

Another EEOC publication, Helping Patients with HIV Infection Who Need Accommodations at Work, explains to doctors that patients with HIV infection may be able to get reasonable accommo­dations that help them to stay productive and employed, and provides them with instructions on how to support requests for accommodation with medical documentation. It also answers questions about the types of accommodations that may be available; the ADA's protections against employment discrimin­ation based on having the condition or on the need for accommodation; the importance of disclosing the need for an accommodation before a problem occurs; and what to do when an employer raises safety concerns.
 

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5-19-16

Office Concepts to Pay $45,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit

Fort Wayne Office Product and Service Store Fired Employee Because of Her Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC - Office Concepts, Inc., a Fort Wayne, Ind., office product and service store, will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC's suit charged that Office Concepts, which provides machines, supplies and service to customers in northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio, fired Lynsey Burd after she informed her manager of her pregnancy. Burd's final task, as it turned out, was to train a new employee, EEOC said. Burd finished training the new employee, and Office Concepts terminated her the next business day. Immediately after firing Burd, Office Concepts hired another new employee. Neither new employee was pregnant, EEOC said.

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-290) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana after trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The company denied the allegations, but, under the consent decree approved by U.S. District Court Judge Rudy Lozano, agreed to pay $45,000 to Burd. In addition, Office Concepts will distribute a new non-discrimination policy to all employees, attend three training sessions led by EEOC, and submit compliance reports to the agency during the decree's two-year term.

"Employers need a robust training and compliance program to honor their obligations under equal employment opportunity laws," said Michelle Eisele, EEOC supervisory trial attorney for the Indianapolis District Office. "This resolution compensates Ms. Burd for her lost wages and will help Office Concepts develop a commitment to a work environment free of unlawful bias."

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5/13/16

EEOC:   Prime, Inc. to Pay Over $3 Million After Court Ruled it Used Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Trucking Giant's Same-Sex Trainer Policy Kept Women Drivers Out of Jobs, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC:   New Prime Trucking, Inc., one of the nation's largest trucking companies, will pay over $3.1 million and will make job offers to women who were victims of the company's unlawful discriminatory hiring policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. The payments follow an earlier court order finding that the company violated federal law by discriminating against female truck driver applicants when it required that they be trained only by female trainers.

According to the court's prior order, the company, which does business as Prime Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination when it denied employment opportunities to women through its same-sex trainer policy. Prime adopted its policy in 2004 after it was found in a previous EEOC lawsuit to have violated Title VII based upon the sexual harassment of one of its female driver trainees. EEOC filed the present suit against Prime in September 2011 based on a discrimination charge filed by Deanna Roberts Clouse. Because Prime had very few female trainers, its same-sex trainer policy forced female trainees to wait extended periods of time, sometimes up to 18 months, for a female trainer to become available, which re­sulted in most female driver trainees being denied employment. Male applicants were promptly assigned to male trainers. Prime ceased using its same-sex trainer policy in 2013 as a result of the agency's suit.

After the court's order on liability, Prime agreed to pay $250,000 to Clouse to resolve her claims. Last month, Prime agreed via consent decree to pay over $2.8 million in lost wages and damages for 63 other women who were denied job opportunities. EEOC was unable to determine the precise number or identities of all women affected by Prime's unlawful policy because, as the court found, Prime failed to "preserve the lists [of women who were put on waiting lists] and cooperate in identifying women impacted by the policy …" The order on liability and consent decree were entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (EEOC v. New Prime Trucking, Inc. Civil Action No.6:11-CV-03367 MDH).

On May 27, the court permanently enjoined Prime from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of sex and ordered that Prime shall not implement a same-sex trainer policy or practice that creates barriers to the entry or advancement of female driver applicants or employees. The court's order will ensure the company does not adopt a same-sex trainer policy again. The court also ordered Prime to give priority hiring consideration to the class members and make them immediately eligible for benefits without a waiting period.

"I am pleased by this latest settlement in a series of EEOC cases to address hiring barriers for women in the workplace," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. "Women who were denied jobs will now be compensated and have the opportunity to be hired."

Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney of EEOC's St. Louis District, said, "When women break into male-dominated fields, they are often trained by men. We should not expect that these women will be sexually harassed. It is disrespectful to men everywhere to assume that they will harass women if they work together in close quarters. Rather, employers have a responsibility to adopt strict anti-harassment policies and practices and enforce them so that all employees - regardless of sex - can work and succeed together."

EEOC St. Louis District Director James R. Neely, Jr. added, "Being male or female is not relevant to whether a person can be a good truck driver. While the trucking industry was desperately looking for drivers, Prime locked women out of their workforce rather than focus its efforts on preventing sexual harassment. Moving forward, we hope that Prime will respect the court's injunction and provide equal opportunities to all applicants, without respect to sex."

According to company information, Prime is one of the nation's largest refrigerated, flatbed and tanker carriers. It is based in Springfield, Mo., and employs over 2,000 persons. Prime provides truck-freight services to customers in Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
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5/11/16 OFCCP

Federal food service contractor settles charges of gender-based hiring discrimination for entry-level Michigan, Kentucky, Wisconsin warehouse jobs
Gordon Food Service Inc. to pay women $1.85M in back wages, benefits

WYOMING, Mich. – For a second time, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has determined that a Michigan-based, federal food service contractor systematically discriminated against 926 qualified women seeking entry-level warehouse laborer jobs.

In agreements with the department, Gordon Food Service, Inc. of Wyoming will pay a total of $1.85 million to female applicants, hire 37 female applicants and stop using a strength test that OFCCP found to be discriminatory.

An OFCCP investigation of GFS, which has not admitted liability, found that the company systematically eliminated qualified women from the hiring process through various discriminatory means, including the unlawful use of the strength test. The women had applied for laborer positions at four warehouses in Brighton and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Investigators determined the company’s discriminatory hiring practices resulted in the hiring of only six females while GFS hired nearly 300 males throughout the investigation period.

GFS, which provides products to the U.S. Departments of Defense and Agriculture and to the Federal Prison System, has entered into three conciliation agreements to resolve the discrimination findings. The women affected by the alleged discrimination reside primarily in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“Too often we find ‘tests’ like the one used in this case that exclude workers from jobs that they can in fact perform,” said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. “In this case, women were denied good-paying jobs. We are making sure that these women are compensated and that some are able to get the work they sought when positions become available.”

In 2007, GFS settled charges of sex discrimination in hiring for similar entry-level labor jobs at its Grand Rapids and Brighton warehouses. In that case, the company provided $450,000 in back pay and interest to the affected women.

Since 2010, GFS has won nearly $4.5 million in federal contracts to provide perishable and non-perishable foods. GFS is one of North America’s largest food distribution companies with more than 170 U.S. locations. In addition to its government contracts, the company supplies restaurants, schools, universities and hospitals.

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North Carolina... Federal Law Trumps State Law

Unlawful Sex Discrimination includes Transgender Discrimination, and the federal government has provided guidance regarding which restroom a person may choose ~ North Carolina is out of compliance with federal laws~

All this talk about which restroom individuals may use legally is ridiculous.  First,  because the federal government has already made a decision what is appropriate and what would be considered discrimination.  SEE HERE   


Their is a fact sheet that was written by the EEOC,  intending to educate the population on the rights of individuals who are transgendered, specifically providing guidance on the appropriate restroom to be used.  SEE HERE

The EEOC LGBT  fact sheet  (SEE HERE) reveals that EEOC litigators have filed lawsuits and amicus curiae briefs in various courts addressing a multitude of LGBT discrimination-related issues.  Specific cases addressing the restroom concerns are:  Grimm v. Gloucester City School Board and
Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army

Just as in any basis for discrimination, the fact that an employee may be uncomfortable about another person using the same restroom, doesn't make it acceptable to discriminate.  The workplace laws are clear. 


This is an excerpt from the EEOC GUIDANCE Fact Sheet: 


Some examples of LGBT-related claims that EEOC views as unlawful sex discrimination include:

  • Failing to hire an applicant because she is a transgender woman.
  • Firing an employee because he is planning or has made a gender transition.
  • Denying an employee equal access to a common restroom corresponding to the employee's gender identity.
  • Harassing an employee because of a gender transition, such as by intentionally and persistently failing to use the name and gender pronoun that correspond to the gender identity with which the employee identifies, and which the employee has communicated to management and employees.
  • Denying an employee a promotion because he is gay or straight.
  • Discriminating in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, such as providing a lower salary to an employee because of sexual orientation, or denying spousal health insurance benefits to a female employee because her legal spouse is a woman, while providing spousal health insurance to a male employee whose legal spouse is a woman.
  • Harassing an employee because of his or her sexual orientation, for example, by derogatory terms, sexually oriented comments, or disparaging remarks for associating with a person of the same or opposite sex.
  • Discriminating against or harassing an employee because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, in combination with another unlawful reason, for example, on the basis of transgender status and race, or sexual orientation and disability.

Both OSHA (SEE HERE) and the US Dept. of Justice (SEE HERE) have similar guidance to that of the EEOC. 
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5-5-16  - Ellucian to Pay $140,000 to Resolve Discrimination against Transgender Employee
EEOC
Higher Education Technology Services Company Unlawfully Removed Employee From Her Position After She Revealed her Gender Transition

Ellucian, a higher education technology services company with operations in Minnesota, has agreed to pay $140,000 and provide significant non-monetary relief to resolve a finding of discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

An investigation by EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office revealed that Ellucian barred the employee from access to her workplace on a college campus the day after she informed her co-workers she planned to transition from male to female. The college asked Ellucian, which was performing contracted informational technology work for the college, to remove the employee from their campus, and Ellucian complied with the college's request.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including bias based on transgender status, gender stereotyping and subjecting an employee to different terms and conditions and/or a hostile work environment because of sex.

EEOC's recent work on sex discrimination on the basis of transgender status and sex stereotyping goes back four years, when the Commission issued an opinion in Macy v. Dep't of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821, 2012 WL 1435995 (April 20, 2012), in which EEOC ruled that employment discrimination against employees because they are transgender is sex discrimination which violates Title VII. Since that time, EEOC has focused on protecting transgender individuals as a strategic enforcement priority and has resolved several potential charges and lawsuits.

"We appreciate that Ellucian worked cooperatively with EEOC to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation," said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC's Chicago District. "As a result of this agreement, Ellucian is helping to lead the way for transgender employees to enjoy equal rights in the workplace in Minnesota."

In addition to paying $140,000 to the employee, the conciliation agreement requires Ellucian to modify its code of conduct to include gender identity as a protected basis in its anti-discrimination provisions and distribute the new code of conduct to all employees. It will also provide training for all of its employees in the U.S. on gender identity discrimination, with additional training and coaching for all personnel who may receive removal requests from clients. Ellucian will report all removal requests made by clients to EEOC for the next three years.


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5-3-16  -  EEOC Obtains Over $66,000 from Moonshine Group and True Country for Pregnancy Discrimination

Tempe Bar Fired Bartender Because She Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charged

PHOENIX - The owners/operators of the Moonshine Whiskey Bar in Tempe, Ariz., will pay $66,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Tempe-based Moonshine Group, LLC discharged Michelle Viscusi, a bartender, because she was pregnant. Moonshine Group operated Moonshine Whiskey Bar until July 2015, when it sold the bar to True Country Enterprises LLC, also based in Tempe.

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01618-DLR), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

After Moonshine Group failed to appear and defend itself in court, Judge Douglas L. Rayes held a default judgment hearing. During the hearing, EEOC provided an audiotape recording in which Benjamin Levine, one of Moonshine Group's members (that is, one of the owners of Moonshine Group, which is an Arizona limited liability company), said, "There's going to be a whole number of people that I would be offending by allowing a pregnant person to be behind the bar. They might look at it as the owner's a f---ing idiot they're letting a girl that's pregnant that could get injured behind the bar bartending right now. How irresponsible are those guys?"

In his April 19 order granting default judgment to the Commission, Judge Rayes found Moonshine's conduct "deplorable," concluding that Moonshine Group violated federal law by removing Viscusi from her duties because she was pregnant. Judge Rayes ordered Moonshine Group to pay $15,721 in back pay, $925 in back pay interest, $10,000 in compensatory damages, and $15,000 in punitive damages, for a total of $41,647.

Under a separate consent decree, True Country is required to pay $25,000, conduct management training, and implement new equal employment opportunity policies to ensure that its practices comply with anti-discrimination law.

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5-3-16  -  Asbestos Specialists, Inc. Will Pay $100,000 and Make Major Policy Changes to Resolve EEOC and OFCCP Investigations

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Asbestos Specialists, Inc. (ASI), a Baltimore-based company that specializes in asbestos removal and demolition in the Washington, D.C. area, will pay $100,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a charge of national origin harassment filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) compliance evaluation, EEOC announced today.

EEOC found that ASI subjected a class of Hispanic workers to a hostile work environment based on national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination-including harassment-on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and religion.

OFCCP made similar findings of national origin discrimination under Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

As part of the joint conciliation, ASI will establish a claimant fund in the amount of $100,000 to compensate individuals who were harassed based on national origin. It will hire an Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator, who must be fluent in English and Spanish. The company and coordinator will develop and distribute to all employees a revised anti-discrimination policy and "know your rights" cards to include information about how to report illegal harassment and how to contact the EEO Coordinator, EEOC and OFCCP.

The company also will provide EEO training to all managers, supervisors and employees. The anti-discrimination policies, "know your rights" cards and EEO training will be available in both English and Spanish. ASI will establish a toll-free number for individuals to report unlawful discrimination or harassment at ASI's work sites. The company will also keep records and report to EEOC and OFCCP regarding its compliance with this voluntary settlement. ASI waived its right to confidentiality regarding the joint conciliation.

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5-2-16  -  Federal Judge Awards EEOC $7,658,500 in Case Against Farm Labor Contractor Global Horizons

62 Thai Farmworkers Vindicated After Exploitation at the Hands of Global Horizons

LOS ANGELES - A federal judge has ordered farm labor contractor Global Horizons, Inc. to pay $7,658,500 for a pattern or practice of subjecting Thai farmworkers in the state of Washington to a hostile work environment, harassment and discrimination in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edward F. Shea found that Global's discriminatory practices were "reprehensible" and vindicated the Thai farmworkers who suffered from "fear, anxiety, anger, intimidation, humiliation, shame, and … an unrelenting sense of imprisonment."

As part of the $7,658,500 in compensatory and punitive damages, Judge Shea ordered an enhanced award of $2,500 to each Thai farmworker who was detained by the police because Global confiscated his or her passport. To the Thai farmworker struck on the head with cane by a Global supervisor pushing him to work faster, Judge Shea awarded additional punitive damages of $16,000 for each month he worked under such abuse. Judge Shea ordered punitive damages here based on a specific finding that Global's discriminatory conduct was "clearly and convincingly" "malicious and with reckless disregard" of these farmworkers' "federally protected rights … health and safety, ethnicity, and financial vulnerability."

EEOC initially filed suit against Global Horizons and two Yakima, Wash., farms in April 2011, charging a pattern or practice of national origin and race discrimination, harassment, constructive discharge and retaliation against the Thai farmworkers, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc., et al., Case No. 2:13-cv-03045-EFS, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington].

Prior to granting default judgment in favor of EEOC against Global Horizons, Judge Shea granted summary judgment in favor of the two defendant farms from Yakima. EEOC is evaluating an appeal now that the Washington case is closed.

In the companion case in Hawaii against five farms in that state and Global Horizons, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi awarded EEOC a default judgment of $12.3 million in damages for 82 claimants against Global Horizons and Maui Pineapple Company. The December 2014 decision also included an offset of $3.6 million for the amount from prior settlements between EEOC and the four other Hawaii farms. Ultimately in the Hawaii case, Global Horizons was held liable for $8.7 million, and Maui Pineapple was held jointly and severally liable for $8.1 million out of the $8.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages because 54 of the 82 Hawaii claimants worked at Maui Pineapple through Global Horizons.

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4-29-16 -  Morse Moving & Storage to Pay $30,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit

Moving Company Fired an Employee Because She Complained of Harassment, Agency Says

DETROIT - Morse Moving & Storage, a residential and corporate moving services provider based in Romulus, Mich., will pay $30,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. 

EEOC's lawsuit charged that Morse Moving & Storage retaliated against Latasha Black when it fired her just hours after she complained about racial harassment. 

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (EEOC v. Morse Moving & Storage, Inc., Civil Case No.: 2:15-CV-13442) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 


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4-26-16 -  Achiote Restaurant To Pay $27,500 To Settle EEOC Male-On-Male Sexual Harassment / Retaliation Suit

Several Young Mexican-American Males Secretly Videotaped in Men's Room, Federal Agency Charged

A San Diego, Calif., restaurant will pay $27,500 and furnish remedial relief to settle a male-on-male class sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Salum Revilla Enterprises, L.L.C., doing business as Achiote Restaurant, subjected young, male Mexican-American workers, aged 19-21, to sexual harassment, and retaliated against one of them after he complained. The harasser, a 24-year-old male, secretly videotaped younger male co-workers using the men's bathroom, EEOC charged.

Further, EEOC said, Mario Campos, a harassment victim who complained, was subjected to unlawful retaliation when he was demoted to busing tables from a server position, his work hours were reduced, was given an unfavorable work schedule, and issued excessive and unwarranted discipline.

As part of the settlement by consent decree, in addition to providing $27,500 for the harassment victims, Achiote Restaurant will revise its policies regarding harassment and retaliation; provide annual training for all employees and managers on anti-discrimination policies and practices; retain an equal employment monitor to assist with training and revising its policies; post an employee notice; and undertake record keeping and reporting to EEOC.

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April 2016 - Nurse Acting without Proper Approval Does Not Reveal Race Discrimination

The United States Court of Appeals - Tenth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of St. John Medical Center (SJMC) in Tulsa, Okla., on claims of racial discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination made by a former employee nurse case manager, Tammie Robinson.

Robinson and case manager, without appropriate physician approval, offered a patient intravenous (IV) pain medication and sought consultations with outside specialists for a patient.  Robinson alleged racial discrimination; however, could not show that her discharge was based on discriminatory factors.

Tammie Robinson was a registered nurse at SJMC).  Robinson was terminated for acting outside the scope of her position after becoming concerned that a patient suffering from sickle cell anemia was not having her pain treated adequately.  Robinson  proceeded to take several actions regarding the patient’s treatment without first obtaining physician approval, including questioning the resident physicians regarding why the patient was not receiving antibiotics, why the patient was not on an IV pain pump, and why a hematologist had not been consulted, contacting a sickle cell treatment facility in another state and obtaining information about a physician at that facility, for the purpose of arranging a consult for the patient, consulting with a local infectious disease specialist regarding whether the patient should be on IV antibiotics, asking the patient whether she was willing to have a pain pump, and trying to obtain a hematologist for the patient and asking a social worker to determine whether transportation to another city could be arranged.  The actions of Robinson resulted in the patient refusing to take her medication and questioning why she was not receiving IV medication.  Further, several physicians and one nurse complained about Robinson’s conduct, stating that she undermined the role of the physicians involved in the care of the patient.  Robinson’s supervisor conducted an investigation and terminated Robinson. 

After her termination, Robinson filed suit, alleging race discrimination, retaliation for race discrimination, and violation of public policy.

The 10th Circuit rejected Robinson’s arguments. SJMC denied that Robinson ever complained of racial comments before discharging her. The evidence showed that Robinson’s supervisor spoke with her about the inappropriate conduct prior to discharge.  Also, Robinson was not able to provide non-minority nurse comparitors who were subjected to lesser discipline engaged in similarly serious conduct. The court also found that the discharge did not violate public policy with regard to nurses.

EEO GUIDANCE Tip: Employers always conduct a prompt and thorough investigation prior to any termination.  Also, ensure the HR or Legal Department is involved in the process to ensure consistency in disciplinary actions. 

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4-15-16 - EEOC:
Milpitas to Pay $140,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit
City Denied Qualified Applicants Employment Because of Age, Federal Agency Charged

The City of Milpitas will pay $140,000 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC's suit charged that the city failed to hire qualified applicants over age 50 who scored higher than the person selected in a three-person panel review of the candidates. Instead, the city hired a younger applicant, age 39, for the position of executive secretary to the city manager.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (EEOC v. City of Milpitas, Case No. 5:15-cv-04444) after an investigation by EEOC investigator Judy Furukawa and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The city denied the allegations, but, under the consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, agreed to pay $140,000 to three job applicants. In addition, the city will distribute revised age discrimination policies to all employees; implement a comprehensive procedure for reporting complaints; provide annual anti-discrimination training to all employees, managers and supervisors; and report any age discrimination complaints to EEOC for two years.

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April 2016


SSDI Benefits Do Not Provide a Basis for Dismissal of ADA Claim

Martina Beverly sued her former employer, Abbott Laboratories (Abbott), for employment discrimination and retaliation. During a private mediation, the parties signed a handwritten agreement stating that Beverly demanded $210,000 and mediation costs in exchange for dismissing the lawsuit. Abbott later accepted Beverly’s demand and circulated a more formal settlement proposal. After Beverly refused to execute this draft proposal, Abbott moved to enforce the original handwritten agreement. The district court found that the parties entered into a binding settlement agreement and granted Abbott’s motion to enforce. Beverly appeals this decision, arguing that Abbott intended to be bound only by the terms of the typewritten proposal and that the handwritten agreement omits certain material terms. However, we find that the handwritten agreement was valid and enforceable, since the agreement’s material terms were clearly conveyed and consented to by both parties, and the existence and content of the draft proposal do not affect enforceability. Therefore, we affirm the district court’s grant of Abbott’s motion to enforce.

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April 2016  

US DOL sues B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. for hiring, pay, promotion discrimination; harassment - New York retailer allegedly violated federal requirements at Brooklyn warehouse

OFCCP: A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges that B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. has systematically discriminated against Hispanic employees and female, black and Asian jobseekers at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse.

As a federal contractor, B&H is prohibited by Executive Order 11246 from discriminating in employment on the basis of race, color, sex or national origin and is required to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of employment.

“Federal contractors’ workforces should reflect the diversity of the American people, the people who are ultimately footing the bill for the goods and services that contractors provide to the government,” said OFCCP’s Director Patricia A. Shiu. “B&H fell far short of this responsibility and created deplorable working conditions for employees at its Brooklyn warehouse. This agency is prepared to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that no federal contractors engage in discrimination against women and people of color.” 

On its website, the popular photo, video, audio and digital imaging retailer claims to “employ an incredibly diverse group of people.”  During its compliance review, however, OFCCP found that, from January 2011 to January 2013:

B&H’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse exclusively hired Hispanic men into its entry-level laborer job group, contributing to the complete exclusion of female employees at the warehouse and the near exclusion of black and Asian employees at the facility.
B&H promoted and compensated its Hispanic workers at a significantly lower rate than comparable white workers, leading to lower pay, fewer opportunities to advance and a near-total exclusion of Hispanic workers from higher level clerical, managerial and supervisory positions. Hispanic employees were also subjected to racist remarks, degrading comments and harassment at the worksite. 

In addition to its findings regarding hiring, compensation and promotion discrimination and harassment, OFCCP found that B&H’s Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse:

Failed to keep and preserve required personnel and employment records.
Relegated Hispanic warehouse workers to separate, unsanitary and often inoperable restrooms.
Failed to provide designated restroom or changing facilities for females.

Filed with the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the complaint asks the court to enjoin B&H permanently from discriminating against female, black and Asian individuals in hiring, and discriminating against Hispanic individuals in promotions and compensation; and to require B&H to ensure and maintain a working environment free of unlawful harassment, intimidation or coercion. OFCCP is also seeking complete relief for the affected class including lost wages, interest, front wages, salary adjustments, promotions and all other lost benefits of employment and a reform of discriminatory policies.

If B&H fails to provide relief as ordered, OFCCP requests that all its government contracts be canceled and that it be debarred from entering into future federal contracts. Headquartered in Manhattan, B&H has supply contracts with the General Services Administration and the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation valued in excess of $46 million.

OFCCP filed its complaint after determining that it was unable to secure a voluntary agreement from B&H to take corrective action.

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4-6-16
Bank of America Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit - Deaf Employee Was Denied a Sign Language Interpreter, Federal Agency Charged

LAS VEGAS-Bank of America, N.A. will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's suit, Bank of America unlawfully denied a reasonable accommodation to a more than 12-year, deaf employee, who worked at a Bank of America vault location in Las Vegas. Rather than communicate with the employee using a sign language interpreter, the employee's managers and supervisors used other ineffective communication methods, such as writing notes, which were not understandable to him.

Discriminating against an employee or job applicant due to their disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in September 2013 (EEOC v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., Case No. 2:13-cv-01754-GMN-VCF) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, Bank of America also agreed to injunctive relief to ensure a dedicated accommodations team properly engages in the interactive process and effectively provides reasonable accommodations to deaf employees. Bank of America agreed to train its accommodations team on the requirements of the ADA as it pertains to deaf employees. The company also agreed that its training would address issues involving the specific communication needs of deaf employees on the job and that each deaf employee will have different communication abilities and methods available to them.

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4-7-16
Neenah Paper to Pay $33,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit - Company Required Employee to Take Meds at Job Site as a Condition of Employment, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC:  A manufacturer of various types of premium paper with a paper mill in Munising, Mich., will pay $33,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

EEOC's lawsuit charged that Neenah Paper, Inc. violated federal law by refusing to allow Kristoffer Gauthier to return to his job on the production floor for seven months because of his disability, a seizure disorder. The agency also alleged that, as a condition to return to work, Neenah Paper required Gauthier to take his anti-epileptic medication under observation during his shifts.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, in May 2005, Gauthier was hired as a fourth hand laborer. In November 2012, he had a seizure at work and was placed on a medical leave of absence. On Dec. 11, he was cleared by his neurologist to return to work. Despite the medical clearance, Neenah Paper told Gauthier that it would not allow him to return to his position until a physician could confirm that he no longer had his condition. It wasn't until July 2013 that the company allowed Gauthier to return to his job, provided that he take his medication at work under observation - either in the presence of the plant nurse or designated co-workers who served as witnesses.

This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of such medical conditions. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Neenah Paper, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-00113) against Neenah Paper in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its con­ciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Gauthier, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires Neenah Paper to post a notice about the lawsuit and employee rights under the ADA. In addition, Neenah Paper must train its man­agers at the Munising plant on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

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4-11-16
County Fair Farm Settles EEOC Class Sex Harassment and Retaliation Suit - Maine Farm Subjected Farmworkers to Abuse Since 2003, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC:  The federal district court in Portland, Maine has approved a consent decree resolving discrimination litigation brought by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against County Fair Farm, the federal agency announced today.

The four-year consent decree settling the suit provides for ongoing monitoring of County Fair Farm by EEOC. As part of the resolution, the farm has agreed to enact, for the first time, policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation. The decree also requires the farm to post anti-discrimination notices in English and Spanish and to provide training to employees to prevent sexual harassment and ensure workers are aware of their right to work in an environment free from unlawful discrimination in the future. In addition, County Fair Farm has agreed that it will no longer employ the alleged perpetrators of the sexual harassment. The consent decree also provides for the establishment of a $120,000 fund to compensate harassment victims identified by EEOC.

According to EEOC's suit, County Fair Farm violated federal law by creating and maintaining a sexually hostile work environment for female farmworkers since 2003. EEOC said the harassment included groping, explicit sex-related comments, and repeated requests for sexual favors. When one victim rejected the sexual advances, she was subject to increased harassment, including threats of violence. Complaints to the farm's owners were ignored, EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In October 2014, EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine (EEOC v. County Fair Farm, Case No. 2014-cv-00415), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"Unfortunately, many migrant workers suffer unlawful harassment and retaliation in silence, afraid of jeopardizing their jobs and their ability to provide for themselves and their families," said EEOC Trial Attorney Sara Smolik. "We commend the lead claimant for the bravery she demonstrated by filing the discrimination charge with EEOC. This not only alerted us to long-standing abuse in this workplace, but led to this resolution, which requires County Fair Farm to put a stop to this misconduct.
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4-12-16
Coca-Cola Bottling Of Mobile to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suit - Company Refused Job to Experienced Applicant Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC:  Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mobile, a manufacturer, bottler and distributor of soft drink products, will pay $35,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's suit, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mobile, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, refused to hire Martina Owes, an applicant for two vacant warehouse positions, because she is female. While Owes had the required warehouse and forklift experience, the company chose to hire less qualified men for the available positions. EEOC also charged that, by not preserving all application materials related to those positions, the company violated federal record-keeping laws.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees against discriminatory practices based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Mobile Division (EEOC v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-00486) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by U.S. District Judge William H. Steele, provides that Coca-Cola Bottling will pay Owes $35,000 and prohibits further discrimination. Also, the company is required, for three years, to conduct annual training of its Mobile employees on discrimination and retaliation, develop new or revised anti-discrimination policies and a written hiring process, and designate a director-level employee to coordinate its compliance with anti-discrimination laws and compliance with the decree.

"Employers are required to provide women with equal employment opportunities, and that includes jobs that traditionally have been dominated by men," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of EEOC's Birmingham District Office, which has jurisdiction over Alabama and portions of Mississippi and Florida. "We appreciate Coca-Cola Bottling's desire to cooperate with EEOC early in the litigation process to resolve this matter."

EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney C. Emanuel Smith, said, "EEOC will continue to litigate when necessary in cases involving arbitrary and unfair barriers to equal opportunity in the workplace based on sex. The law requires that female applicants be judged on their qualifications and not passed over because of their gender."

The elimination of recruiting and hiring practices that discriminate against women, racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, and people with disabilities is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

4-13-16
Union and Apprentice Program To Pay $1,650,000 to Settle Part of EEOC Race Bias Lawsuit- New Jersey's Local 25 Sheet Metal Union Failed to Employ Black and Hispanic Journeypersons, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC:   Local 25 of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association and its associated apprenticeship school will pay a combined $1.65 million and provide substantial remedial relief in partial settlement of race discrimination claims made against them by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

EEOC's decades-old lawsuit continues to address allegations that Local 25, which is the trade union for sheet metal journeypersons in northern New Jersey, together with Local 25 Joint Apprenticeship Committee, discriminated against black and Hispanic journeypersons in hiring and assignments. The settlement covers violations from April 1991 through December 2002. Analysis of hours and wages showed African-American and Hispanic workers received fewer hours of work than their white co-workers for most of the 10-year period. Prior court actions in the lawsuit resolved violations before April 1991.

The lawsuit underlying this settlement (EEOC, et al., v. Local 638, et, al., Case No. 71 Civ. 2887 (LAK)) was filed in 1971 by the U.S. Department of Justice in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. EEOC replaced the Department of Justice as prosecuting counsel in 1974. The case was originally filed against Local 25's predecessors, Sheet Metal Workers' International Association Local Union No. 10 and the Local 10 Joint Apprenticeship Committee. In 1981, Local 10 merged with other unions into Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association and the Local 28 JAC of Northern New Jersey. Local 25 demerged from Local 28 in 1991.

The settlement of claims for the April 1991 through December 2002 period has been approved by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Pursuant to the settlement, Local 25 will pay $1.65 million in damages to journeypersons harmed by the discrimination. As part of the settlement, Local 25 agreed to an injunction against discrimination on the basis of race and national origin with regard to hiring, termination and the assignment of hours and wages. Local 25 also agreed to an injunction against thwarting, frustrating, impairing, or otherwise impeding the goals of the court's anti-discrimination orders.

"EEOC is committed to ensuring equal opportunities throughout the construction trade," said EEOC New York District Office district director Kevin Berry. "Through remedial agreements like the one in this case, we can rid this industry of such invidious race discrimination."

EEOC's New York acting regional attorney Raechel Adams said, "EEOC will continue to bring strong enforcement actions until black and Hispanic sheet metal workers no longer face discrimination on the jobsite. Today's settlement is an important step in realizing justice for these workers."

Eliminating discriminatory barriers to recruitment and hiring is one of EEOC's six nationwide priorities identified in its Strategic Enforcement Plan for fiscal year 2013-16.
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4-14-16
RockTenn to Pay $187,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit - Human Resources Manager Fired Because of Coronary Artery Disease, Agency Says

EEOC: A paper and packaging manufacturer with a facility located in Battle Creek, Mich., will pay $187,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

EEOC's lawsuit charged that RockTenn Company and RockTenn Services, Inc. violated federal law by failing to reasonably accommodate the disability of Glenn Janisch and firing him during a pre-authorized short-term-disability leave because of his severe coronary artery disease.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Glen Janisch began working for RockTenn in October of 2010 as the human resources manager for the Battle Creek plant. In January 2011, Janisch underwent open heart coronary bypass surgery and was authorized for short-term disability leave through mid-April 2011. However, in early March 2011, he received medical clearance from his doctor to return to work, initially for half days, and promptly notified RockTenn of his return date, March 21. Despite Janisch's imminent return on a date certain, RockTenn terminated his employment on March 10, 2011.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of such medical conditions. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. RockTenn Co. & RockTenn Services, Inc., No. 1:14-cv-00973) against RockTenn in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Janisch intervened in EEOC's lawsuit but did not raise additional claims under federal or state law.

The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the award of monetary relief, prohibits any such discrimination in the future and requires RockTenn to post a notice about the lawsuit and employee rights under the ADA. In addition, RockTenn must train its human resources managers and Battle Creek plant managers on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations under the ADA.


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OFCCP:
Aramark Educational Services LLC in Lubbock, Texas, settles charges of gender and race discrimination with US Labor Department

335 class members to receive $165K in back wages, interest, benefits

EEOC — Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Aramark Education Services LLC has entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve claims of systemic hiring discrimination. OFCCP found that the contractor discriminated against 335 male and African-American applicants for food service worker positions with Aramark, a federal contractor in Lubbock.

"There are no such things as 'women's work' and 'men's work.' There is only work, and federal contractors are well aware of their obligation to provide equal opportunities to all employees and job applicants," said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. "This settlement is a reminder that it is up to the employee or job applicant to decide which positions to pursue, whatever their reasons. A contractor may only evaluate whether or not an individual has the ability to do the job."

The agreement concludes an investigation from Aug. 16, 2008 through Aug. 16, 2010, by OFCCP that Aramark failed to comply with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits race and sex discrimination by federal contractors that do business with the government. Under the agreement, Aramark will pay $165,000 in back wages, interest, and benefits to the affected class members. The company, while not admitting liability, will also make 53 job offers to original applicants as positions become available. Finally, the company will review and revise its selection process and provide better training to its hiring managers to eliminate practices that result in gender and race stereotyping.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Aramark and its subsidiaries received more than $36 million in federal contracts during the course of the OFCCP investigation, to provide its services and products to multiple federal departments and agencies including the Department of the Army, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Navy, Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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OFCCP - US Labor Department recovers more than $1.8 million for employees and job applicants at G&K Services
Systemic hiring, pay discrimination found at laundry facilities across the country

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with nine facilities of G&K Services, Inc., to remedy systemic hiring and pay discrimination violations identified in compliance evaluations initiated between 2011 and 2015. G&K Services has several federal contracts, which requires the company to adhere to nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions under Executive Order 11246.

A compliance review by the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that G&K discriminated against 444 female employees in laborer positions by disproportionately assigning them to lower paying job duties while filling the higher paying job duties predominantly with men, even though female employees were qualified for and able to perform the higher paying jobs.

"When you accept taxpayer dollars, you are held to the highest employment standards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Workers should be judged on their skills and qualifications, not on their gender or any other arbitrary measure. We will not tolerate employment discrimination by companies that do business with the federal government."

OFCCP determined that this practice of steering women into the lower paying "light duty" jobs led to unlawful sex-based pay discrimination at G&K facilities in Denver; Sacramento, California; Graham and Charlotte, North Carolina; Pleasant Hill, Iowa; Justice, Illinois; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Houston and Coppell, Texas. This practice also resulted in a lower hiring rate for 2,327 male applicants who were equally or more qualified for general laborer positions at the Sacramento, Pleasant Hill, Justice, St. Paul and Coppell locations.

OFCCP also found that G&K failed to provide equal opportunity to 456 African American and 111 Caucasian applicants at its Houston and Charlotte locations when hiring for general laborer positions.

"This settlement demonstrates how the U.S. Labor Department can uncover patterns of workplace discrimination by federal contractors that transcend a single location, which may affect a large number of workers," said Patricia Shiu, Director of OFCCP. "G&K has agreed to fully cooperate to remedy past violations and ensure its selection and placement practices at these facilities are in full compliance with the law going forward. Together, we can achieve the common goal of equal employment opportunities and nondiscrimination in pay for all employees and applicants."

Under the terms of the agreement, G&K, while denying liability, has agreed to pay a total of $1,813,555 to members of the affected classes in the conciliation agreement. The contractor has also agreed to extend 78 job opportunities to the male, black and white applicants who were not hired, and 58 opportunities for the female employees to move into higher paying positions.

The agreement also requires G&K to undertake a detailed assessment of its hiring, placement and compensation practices, and its job postings and other documents to ensure they provide equal opportunity and do not discriminate on the basis of sex or race. G&K will be required to conduct regular adverse impact and compensation analyses at the locations where OFCCP found violations, and will report regularly to the agency during the monitoring period on its fulfillment of these obligations.

G&K Services, Inc. provides branded uniform and facility services products including traction control products, towel products, microfiber, wet mops, fender covers, linen items and restroom hygiene products.

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OFCCP
Fastenal Company will offer positions to 171 job applicants at Indianapolis and Atlanta facilities in hiring discrimination settlement
Company also agrees to pay African-American and female applicants $1.25M in back wages

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has found that Fastenal Company, North America's leading distributor of fastening products and a federal government contractor, discriminated against 171 job applicants who sought general warehouse positions at two of its distribution facilities in Indianapolis and Atlanta.

OFCCP also found that, during its investigation, the company destroyed or failed to provide various employment records from both facilities in an alleged attempt to hinder the investigation.

Under the conciliation agreements with OFCCP, Fastenal has committed to hire 154 African American and 17 female class members and will pay $1,253,611 in back wages and interest to the 7,398 African American and 1,055 female job applicants in the affected class. The company did not admit liability. The violations occurred while Fastenal received more than $35 million in government contracts for its products.

"Fastenal has taken a step in the right direction by working closely with our agency to resolve these issues," said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. "Together, we will ensure that the company continues to maintain all required employment records and only uses employment tests that are job related to the position for which they are applying."

Investigators from OFCCP's Indianapolis and Atlanta offices found that the company engaged in screening and testing practices that discriminated against African Americans and women. As part of the settlement, Fastenal has agreed to discontinue use of its written test and to revise its hiring and recordkeeping practices to ensure they fully comply with the laws and regulations that apply to federal contractors.

Based in Winona, Minnesota, Fastenal produces threaded fasteners, such as bolts, nuts, screws, and washers used in manufactured products and building projects. The company also sells a wide range of other industrial and commercial supplies. Fastenal operates approximately 2,700 stores located primarily in North America with additional locations in Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. The company also has 14 distribution centers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
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OFCCP
Home Depot Settles Sex Discrimination Case with DOL

OFCCP has settled allegations of gender discrimination with Home Depot. Home Depot will pay nearly $84,000 to resolve allegations of systemic gender discrimination at its Pomona, California facility. In addition, Home Depot will extend job opportunities to five women as positions become available.

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EEOC - March 2016 - Niemann Foods / County Market Store #224 To Pay $300,000 To Resolve EEOC Discrimination Finding
Class of Women Subjected to Misconduct, Including Unwelcome Physical Contact, Federal Agency Found

Niemann Foods, Inc., doing business as County Market Store #224, based in Quincy, Ill., has agreed to pay $300,000 to conciliate a sexual harassment charge investigated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

EEOC's investigation revealed that Niemann subjected a class of female employees to sexual harassment that included unwelcome physical contact. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to the three-year agreement resolving the matter, the monetary settlement will be divided among the alleged discrimination victims. Niemann Foods will retain an experienced outside consultant to provide annual training to all members of its Human Resources Department and all employees at its Chatham, Ill., location on the topics of discrimination and harassment, including, but not limited to, sex discrimination and harassment under Title VII. The company has also agreed to provide periodic reporting to EEOC on all complaints of sex discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation made at its Chatham location, and will post an internal notification to its Chatham employees of this conciliation. Niemann will also revise its employment policy to comply with Title VII and will distribute the revised policy (including laminated cards with the company's equal employment opportunity hotline number listed) to all employees.

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Mavis Discount Tire to Pay $2.1 Million to Settle EEOC Class Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
Tire Retailer Violated Federal Law by Systemically Refusing to Hire Women in Its Field Locations, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC:  Mavis Discount Tire, Inc. / Mavis Tire Supply Corp. / Mavis Tire NY, Inc. / Cole Muffler, Inc., a large tire retailer based in the New York metropolitan area, will pay $2.1 million and provide other relief to settle a class sex discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Mavis engaged in a pattern or practice of sex discrimination by refusing to hire women for its field positions - managers, assistant managers, mechanics, and tire technicians - in the company's over 140 stores throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. EEOC also charged that Mavis failed to make, keep, and preserve employment records.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 12-CV-00741) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Katherine P. Failla on March 24, 2016, provides that Mavis will pay $2.1 million, to be divided among 46 aggrieved women. Also, the decree provides for extensive safeguards to prevent future discrimination by implementing hiring goals for women, a comprehensive recruitment and hiring protocol, and anti-discrimination policies and training. 

"We are pleased that as a result of this settlement, Mavis will be making concerted, verifiable efforts to hire more women at all of its field locations," EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Raechel Adams said.

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry added, "This case exemplifies EEOC's commitment to remedying systemic bias. EEOC found that Mavis for years had maintained a pattern of not hiring women at its field locations. This settlement ensures that qualified women will continue to be hired in the future - and advances EEOC's first priority in its Strategic Enforcement Plan, eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring."

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Should the EEOC Pay $4.7M in Attorney Fees

Can the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) be held liable for nearly $4.7 million in attorney fees and costs paid by CRST Van Expedited Inc. (CRST) in defense of a sexual harassment action brought by the EEOC? This is the question before the Supreme Court at this time (decision pending by the end of June 2016).  CRST Van Expedited Inc. v. EEOC (No. 14-1375).

The trial court awarded the $4.7 million attorney fees to be paid under a provision of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that allows a “prevailing party” to recover its attorney fees; however, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the award of fees, indicating that the company was not a “prevailing party” under the law because there was no win “on the merits” of the EEOC’s claims.  There was no judicial determination as to whether the employer violated Title VII. The case was dismissed based upon the EEOC’s stated failure to carry out its obligations before filing suit.

Title VII provides for attorney fee awards to prevailing defendants if they can reveal the EEOC's position as unreasonable or frivolous.

EEOC argued before the Supreme Court that after the district court's 2009 order dismissing the case, they could again bring a lawsuit relating to the sexual harassment claims at issue if it satisfied Title VII's preconditions of investigating, making cause determinations on and conciliating those claims.

The EEOC claimed because they could bring the lawsuit again, CRST could then not be considered a “prevailing party” entitled to fees.

We will stay tuned and bring you the decision as soon as it comes down from the high court. 


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Mandatory Health History Form Violated ADA and GINA    

On March 22, 2016, the EEOC stated that Grisham Farm Products of Mountain Grove violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by requiring job applicants to fill out a health history form before being considered for work.

The three-page health history pre-employment form “requested information that could cause an applicant to identify himself or herself as a person with a disability,” which violates the ADA, according to EEOC. Requiring applicants to fill out the form also violated GINA, which prohibits employers from requesting or requiring genetic information, including medical histories regarding applicants or their family members, except in limited circumstances allowed by statute.

The EEOC also alleged Grisham Farm Products did not maintain or retain employment records and applications for employment, as required by recently enacted law.

“In an effort to combat such exclusion, under the ADA and GINA, employers are generally prohibited from asking a job applicant if he or she has a ‘disability,’ nor are employers initially permitted to ask questions regarding a candidate’s physical or mental conditions and personal or family medical history,” Gegwich said. “Pursuant to the ADA, after an employer makes an offer of employment, however, it may condition the job offer on the successful passing of a medical examination or make other medical-related inquiries, so long that all applicants are treated the same way and the examinations or questions are job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

However, under GINA, employers are never permitted to take an employee’s or applicant’s genetic information or family medical history into consideration in connection with an employment-related decision, he said.

DAWSON'S NOTE:  Under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, changes were made on September 24, 2013 to now “require” federal contractors and subcontractors to request whether an applicant has a disability (but employers cannot require applicants to disclose the information).  Section 503, in part, states:

·  Data collection: The new regulations require that contractors document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of IWDs who apply for jobs and the number of IWDs they hire. Having this data will assist contractors in measuring the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.

·  Invitation to Self-Identify: The new regulations require that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as IWDs at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, using language prescribed by OFCCP. The new regulations also require that contractors invite their employees to self-identify as IWDs every five years, using the prescribed language. This language is posted in the Self-Identification Form, found in the below OFCCP link:

 http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/sec503/Self_ID_Forms/VoluntarySelf-ID_CC-305_ENG_DropDown_JRF_QA_508c.pdf

EEOC’s position lined up with the new OFCCP requirements:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/sec503/Self_ID_Forms/OLC_letter_to_OFCCP_8-8-2013_508c.pdf

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OFCCP:  Aramark Educational Services LLC in Lubbock, Texas, settles charges of gender and race discrimination with US Labor Department  ~ 335 class members to receive $165K in back wages-interest-benefits

DALLAS — Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Aramark Education Services LLC has entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve claims of systemic hiring discrimination. OFCCP found that the contractor discriminated against 335 male and African-American applicants for food service worker positions with Aramark, a federal contractor in Lubbock.

"There are no such things as 'women's work' and 'men's work.' There is only work, and federal contractors are well aware of their obligation to provide equal opportunities to all employees and job applicants," said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. "This settlement is a reminder that it is up to the employee or job applicant to decide which positions to pursue, whatever their reasons. A contractor may only evaluate whether or not an individual has the ability to do the job."

The agreement concludes an investigation from Aug. 16, 2008 through Aug. 16, 2010, by OFCCP that Aramark failed to comply with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits race and sex discrimination by federal contractors that do business with the government. Under the agreement, Aramark will pay $165,000 in back wages, interest, and benefits to the affected class members. The company, while not admitting liability, will also make 53 job offers to original applicants as positions become available. Finally, the company will review and revise its selection process and provide better training to its hiring managers to eliminate practices that result in gender and race stereotyping.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Aramark and its subsidiaries received more than $36 million in federal contracts during the course of the OFCCP investigation, to provide its services and products to multiple federal departments and agencies including the Department of the Army, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Navy, Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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3-7-16
PMT Corporation to Pay over $1 Million to Resolve EEOC Class Age and Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
Minnesota Medical Device Company Refused to Hire Women and Older Applicants for Sales Jobs, Federal Agency Charged


MINNEAPOLIS - A Chanhassen, Minn.-based medical device and equipment manufacturer will pay $1,020,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age and sex discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. EEOC said PMT Corporation violated federal civil rights laws by refusing to hire otherwise qualified applicants for outside sales positions because they were female or over the age of 40.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, PMT engaged in a pattern or practice of systemic hiring discrimination when, between Jan. 1, 2007 and late 2010, it hired over 70 individuals as sales representatives, but not a single applicant who was female or over 40 years of age. The lawsuit further alleged that this result was intentional and directed by PMT's owner and president.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). EEOC filed its lawsuit in March 2014, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. PMT Corporation; Civil Action No. 0:14-cv-00599, (D. Minn.) (DSD / TNL), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The suit was resolved late on March 4, when U.S. District Judge David S. Doty of the District of Minnesota approved the consent decree. Under its terms, PMT will pay $1,020,000 to a class of job applicants who were rejected for sales positions because they were women or over the age of 40, and to a former human resources employee who notified EEOC that she believed PMT was engaging in discriminatory practices. In addition to the monetary damages, PMT will be monitored by EEOC for the next four years and will be required to revise its hiring practices for sales representatives to ensure that applicants are considered for employment based on merit, not their age or gender, in the future. PMT will also be required to submit regular reports to EEOC, conduct extensive training for all employees involved in the hiring process, and retain an external human resources consultant to review and recommend changes to their workplace policies.

"We are extremely pleased to reach the result announced today," said John Hendrickson, EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago. "This litigation has produced important legal decisions, ensuring the protection of women and older workers from discriminatory hiring practices and represents yet another significant example of EEOC's focus on systemic discrimination. The public has benefited because EEOC and PMT were able to sit down and talk with each other and craft a workable resolution in a complex lawsuit. That doesn't always happen. Not all employers are resolved to deal with tough issues and to get on with business."

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3-10-16
FYC International to Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit
Top Warehouse Manager Abused Women and Promoted a Culture Condoning Such Misconduct, Federal Agency Charged


NEW HAVEN, Conn. - FYC International Inc., a manufacturer and wholesaler of women's and children's clothing and accessories that is no longer in operation, will pay $80,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. 

According to EEOC's lawsuit, the FYC warehouse manager regularly subjected female workers to inappropriate sexual comments, gestures, propositions and physical touching. He also offered several female workers money in exchange for sex. EEOC charged that the manager's sexual harassment was so well known in the warehouse that male workers followed his lead and harassed female employees through inappropriate sexual comments and gestures. 

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court District of Connecticut (Case No. 3:14-CV-01414) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

The consent decree settling the suit, signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on March 8, 2016, provides that FYC will pay $80,000, to be divided among the three charging parties and their counsel. Also, while FYC has now ceased operations, the decree provides for extensive safeguards to prevent future discrimination if the company re-emerges, such as hiring an independent compliance official to oversee the implementation of anti-discrimination policies and to investigate complaints.

"We are pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with New Haven Legal Assistance to bring appropriate relief to the charging parties for the harassment they suffered at the hands of the warehouse manager," EEOC Trial Attorney Jadhira Rivera said. 


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3-3-16
Presence Health to Pay $500,000 To Conciliate EEOC Class Investigation

CHICAGO - Presence Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in Illinois, has agreed to pay $500,000 to conciliate complaints filed with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), the agency announced today.

The conciliation, a voluntary resolution of the complaint, results from a multiyear EEOC investigation which found that three Presence Health hospitals discriminated against disabled employees. The discrimination occurred when Presence Health failed to return employees on medical leaves to their positions and/or failed to reassign them to other positions, for which they were qualified. Instead, Presence Health terminated the employees or placed them on disability leave.

The conciliation not only provides monetary relief to those who have already been discriminated against, but also ensures the company will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination from occurring in the future. For the next three years, Presence Health will conduct annual ADA training at three of its Chicagoland locations, revise and disseminate its ADA and reasonable accommodation policies and procedures, report to EEOC regarding disabled employees who were seeking re-employment and/or re-hire, and post an internal notification to its employees of this conciliation.

"This resolution is an excellent result for all of Presence Health, including former employees who will receive compensation, and current employees who we expect will see improved leave and accommodation processes," said Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago District Office. "We are pleased that Presence Health was willing to work with EEOC to improve its ADA compliance practices, and we are confident that by doing so Presence will be rewarded by retaining experienced and dedicated employees."

Presence Health denied the allegations but agreed to conciliate the matter with EEOC and a class of individuals, including the individuals who filed charges.

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NFI Roadrail and NFI Industries to Pay $45,000 to Settle EEOC Pay Discrimination Suit
Company Underpaid Executive Because of Her Gender, Federal Agency Charges

DALLAS - NFI RoadRail, LLC and NFI Industries, Inc., New Jersey-based businesses that provide logistics, transportation and warehouse services to manufacturers and retailers, will pay $45,000 and furnish other relief to settle a gender-based discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC charged that NFI paid a female director of intermodal operations in its Irving, Texas location less than three male directors. When her male counterparts were fired, she was put back into the job but paid a lower annual salary. The woman learned she was being paid less when she came across a pay stub of the male who had vacated the job she was moving into.

Pay discrimination is illegal under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which prohibits sex-based wage differentials for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility performed under the same or similar working conditions. It is also illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination, including compensation, on the basis of sex. Both statutes are enforced by EEOC and were violated by NFI according to EEOC's lawsuit. EEOC filed its lawsuit (Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-00181-N) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

As part of the consent decree resolving the suit, signed by Judge David C. Godbey, NFI will pay $45,000 the pay discrimination victim. NFI also agreed to ensure that its employment policies conform to the law in the future, will provide anti-discrimination training under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and post an equal employment opportunity notice at the workplace. The company will promptly and fairly investigate allegations of sex-based wage discrimination.

"Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental civil right," said Patrick Connor, senior trial attorney in EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. "From entry-level jobs to highly paid management positions, women should be paid equal to men, period."


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2-18-16
Cessna Aircraft Company to Pay over $160,000 In EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
Aircraft Manufacturer Required Conditional Employees With Physical Impairments to Satisfy Workers' Compensation Standards, Agency Charged

MILWAUKEE - Cessna Aircraft Company will pay $167,500 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

EEOC's lawsuit charged that Wichita, Kan.-based Cessna failed to make the required individualized assessment of the ability of conditional employees to perform the essential functions of jobs but instead relied on workers' compensation standards. The violations were found in Milwaukee and Wichita based on what appeared to be a company-wide policy. In one case, Cessna required a conditional employee to meet national maximum medical improvement standards to be eligible to work, despite the employee providing medical documentation that he could work without restriction. Cessna rescinded the job offer of this employee on the basis that he would not reach maximum medical improvement within a specified time period. In another case, EEOC said, Cessna withdrew its job offer from an employee with a history of workers' compensation restrictions without regard for his subsequent improvement and ability to provide medical documentation of his ability to work without restriction.

This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Cessna Aircraft Company No. 2:15-cv-01166) against Cessna in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in September 2015 after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, requires Cessna to pay two former conditional employees a combined $167,500, prohibits any such discrimination in the future, and requires reporting to EEOC for two years. Cessna must also create a new ADA policy that explicitly states that applicants are not required to meet maximum medical improvement or have a permanent disability prior to being eligible for an accommodation. The decree also limits additional medical inquiries required for those conditional employees with impairments who have provided medical documentation of ability to work without restriction, and ties additional medical inquiries to the essential functions of the job.

In addition, Cessna must train its human resources and health services employees on disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation and retaliation under the ADA, as well as on the interplay of workers' compensation laws and the ADA. A Cessna executive-level employee will personally address the staff before every training session with a message that Cessna takes its obligation under all equal employment opportunity laws seriously and will state Cessna's non-retaliation policy.

"Workers' compensation guidelines are not a proxy for the ability of an employee or conditional employee to perform the essential functions of the job," said John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of EEOC's Chicago District Office, which is responsible for EEOC litigation in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. "This settlement should remind employers that the ADA requires an individualized assessment of a candidate's ability to do the job. We appreciate Cessna's willingness to work with EEOC to resolve this case without a jury trial."


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2-19-16
Memphis Cheddar’s Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $450,000
Male Managers at Memphis Restaurant Sexually Harassed a Class of Female Employees, Federal Agency Charged

MEMPHIS - Mint Julep Restaurant Operations, LLC, an independent restaurant company and franchisee of the casual dining chain Cheddar's Casual Café, will pay $450,000 to 15 individuals and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

EEOC's lawsuit charged Cheddar's violated federal law by maintaining a hostile work environment at its Winchester Road restaurant in Memphis by permitting sexual conversations and jokes and by allowing a general manager and bar manager to subject several female employees to sexual harassment. According to EEOC's lawsuit, among other things, Cheddar's managers made requests for sexual favors and explicit sexual comments, and subjected female employees to unwelcome touching. EEOC further alleged that despite having received complaints from its female employees, Cheddar's did not respond to those complaints in a prompt and appropriate manner.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII's prohibition against sexual harassment applies to all employees, including management officials. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Mint Julep Restaurant Operations, LLC, d/b/a Cheddar's Casual Café, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-02650) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Besides the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes:

  • mandatory anti-harassment training;
  • maintenance of workplace cameras;
  • monitoring workplace behavior;
  • notice of the settlement to Cheddar's employees in its Memphis restaurant; and
  • reporting future complaints of sexual harassment to EEOC for three years.


"Having and disseminating an anti-harassment policy does not satisfy federal prohibitions against sexual harassment," said Regional Attorney Faye Williams of EEOC's Memphis District Office, which serves Tennessee, Arkansas and Northern Mississippi. "Employers must also enforce it. When an employer allows its managers to abuse its female employees in these ways and allows a sexually hostile work environment to persist, it is obviously not enforcing its anti-harassment policy. An unenforced policy is tantamount to having no policy at all."

Mint Julep Restaurant Operations, LLC is the franchisee of at least 42 Cheddar's Casual Cafés in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. Its West Tennessee restaurants are located in Memphis, Cordova, and Jackson, Tenn.

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2-22-16
Two Hawk Employment Services Sued By EEOC for Disability Discrimination
Temporary Agency Refused to Hire an Applicant Because of Conditions Disclosed by Illegal Medical Inquiries, Federal Agency Charges

A temporary employment agency violated federal law when it asked an applicant illegal medical questions during its application process and then refused to hire the applicant because of her responses to those illegal medical inquiries, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. In addition, the suit alleges that Two Hawk failed to retain employment applications as required by federal law.

Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC operates a temporary staffing agency based in Lumberton, N.C. As a staffing agency, Two Hawk places temporary workers at a number of employers.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Nicole Bullard applied for employment with Two Hawk in May 2013 and was required to fill out a medical history form during the application process. The form asked Bullard to identify medical conditions she has or had in the past, as well as to disclose whether she was taking any medications that might affect her ability to perform the essential functions of the job. The form further asked Bullard to state whether she had physical or mental conditions that require accommodation, and whether she had any restrictions in activity. In response to the application's questions, Bullard disclosed that she was taking two prescription medications.

Thereafter, EEOC said, Bullard received a conditional job offer from Two Hawk. During her orientation for work with Two Hawk, Bullard was questioned about her medications, and provided information in response to those questions. The following day, Bullard's job offer was rescinded and Bullard was told she had not passed a "pre-screening test."

The questions asked during the application process, as well as the alleged refusal to hire Bullard due to the medical information disclosed, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC's complaint also charges that Two Hawk failed to retain applications and other documents related to hiring as required by the Commission's record-keeping regulations, in violation of 29 C.F.R. § 1602.14.

EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC; Civil Action No. 7:16-CV-00026-FL) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

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2-22-16
Quality Solutions, LLC to Pay $22,500 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit
Company Violated Federal Law by Failing to Hire Pregnant Applicant, Federal Agency Charged

Quality Solutions, LLC, a Dalton, Ga., staffing company, will pay $22,500 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Kayla Medeiros sought a temporary job assignment through Quality Solutions. Around Dec. 19, 2014, Quality Solutions called Medeiros for a job opening. EEOC charged in its lawsuit that when Medeiros responded to Quality Solutions indicating her interest in taking the job, a company manager told her that he could not send her for the assignment because she was pregnant. The manager indicated that the job was in a warehouse where Medeiros could get hurt.

Such alleged conduct violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is a part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and which prohibits employers from subjecting women to discrimination due to pregnancy. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division (Case No. 4:15-cv-00176) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit was entered by the court on Feb. 18, 2016. In addition to paying $22,500 to Medeiros, Quality Solutions agreed to provide equal employment opportunity training to its employees and to post anti-discrimination notices at its facilities. The two-year decree also requires Quality Solutions to report to EEOC all complaints it receives of pregnancy discrimination and how it responds to those complaints."An employer cannot make hiring decisions based on what it thinks is in the best interests of a pregnant applicant," said EEOC Regional Attorney Lynette Barnes. "Every woman has the right to make decisions about her health and ability to work when she is pregnant."

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3-2-16
AT&T to Pay $250,000 and Reinstate Employee to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Telecom Giant Removed Visually Impaired Technician From His Job, Ignoring His Accommodation Request, Federal Agency Charged

AT&T, a multi-national telecommunications company, will pay $250,000, reinstate an employee, and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. EEOC had charged the company with failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a visually impaired employee who had worked for the company since 2001.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Miguel Meléndez began working as a switch technician in 2001 for a predecessor company, Centennial. In 2008, Meléndez became visually impaired due to diabetes. In 2009, Meléndez's doctor cleared him to return to work, at which time Meléndez requested a reasonable accommodation for his visual impairment. Specifically, he requested the use of adaptive technology software, which would allow him to use computers and programs to perform the essential functions of his job as switch technician. 

Neither AT&T's predecessor, Centennial, nor AT&T ever provided a response to Meléndez's request for reasonable accommodation. In the meantime, he was removed from his position and not permitted to return to work, while the company continued to ignore his accommodation request. After waiting over a year and a half for a response to his request, Meléndez was removed from his position, EEOC said. Meléndez filed a discrimination charge with EEOC in October 2010.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed this suit (EEOC v. AT&T, Case 3:11-cv-01964-CCC) in U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico after first investigating and attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Meléndez intervened in EEOC's lawsuit and raised additional discrimination claims under federal and local law. The plaintiff-intervenor is represented by private attorneys Loira M. Acosta-Baez, Esq., and Ivan E. Aponte-Gonzalez, Esq., of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Under the consent decree resolving EEOC's claims, aside from significant monetary relief, AT&T has agreed to reinstate Meléndez into a new position in its San Juan location and to offer him reasonable accommodations in compliance with the ADA. AT&T will also conduct annual training for its managers in Puerto Rico, post a notice about the lawsuit in its Puerto Rico locations where customer service representatives and its Network Field Operations employees are located, and report ADA complaints from Puerto Rico to EEOC. AT&T has also agreed to engage in affirmative recruiting of visually impaired individuals by cooperating with local organizations that serve that workforce. 


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3-3-16
Presence Health to Pay $500,000 To Conciliate EEOC Class Investigation

CHICAGO - Presence Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in Illinois, has agreed to pay $500,000 to conciliate complaints filed with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), the agency announced today.

The conciliation, a voluntary resolution of the complaint, results from a multiyear EEOC investigation which found that three Presence Health hospitals discriminated against disabled employees. The discrimination occurred when Presence Health failed to return employees on medical leaves to their positions and/or failed to reassign them to other positions, for which they were qualified. Instead, Presence Health terminated the employees or placed them on disability leave.

The conciliation not only provides monetary relief to those who have already been discriminated against, but also ensures the company will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination from occurring in the future. For the next three years, Presence Health will conduct annual ADA training at three of its Chicago-land locations, revise and disseminate its ADA and reasonable accommodation policies and procedures, report to EEOC regarding disabled employees who were seeking re-employment and/or re-hire, and post an internal notification to its employees of this conciliation.

"This resolution is an excellent result for all of Presence Health, including former employees who will receive compensation, and current employees who we expect will see improved leave and accommodation processes," said Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago District Office. "We are pleased that Presence Health was willing to work with EEOC to improve its ADA compliance practices, and we are confident that by doing so Presence will be rewarded by retaining experienced and dedicated employees."

Presence Health denied the allegations but agreed to conciliate the matter with EEOC and a class of individuals, including the individuals who filed charges.


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Greyhound Lines to Resolve Americans with Disabilities Violations

February 2016

Under the terms of a consent decree filed by the Justice Department today, Greyhound Lines Inc., the nation’s largest provider of intercity bus transportation, will implement a series of systemic reforms to resolve allegations that it repeatedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Greyhound will pay $300,000 in compensation to certain passengers with disabilities identified by the department and will retain a claims administrator to compensate an uncapped number of additional passengers who have experienced disability discrimination.

The consent decree, pending approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, resolves the department’s complaint that Greyhound engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of violating the ADA by failing to provide full and equal transportation services to passengers with disabilities.  The alleged violations include failing to maintain accessibility features on its bus fleet such as lifts and securement devices, failing to provide passengers with disabilities assistance boarding and exiting buses at rest stops; and failing to allow customers traveling in wheelchairs to complete their reservations online. 

“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to transportation services so that they can travel freely and enjoy autonomy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “Today’s agreement marks a major step toward fulfilling the promise of the ADA, and we applaud Greyhound for entering the consent decree.”

“We are fully committed to ensuring equal access to all opportunities society has to offer, including transportation services,” said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III of the District of Delaware. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Greyhound – which serves more than 3,800 destinations and more than 18 million passengers each year across North America – will compensate several classes of passengers who faced barriers because of their disabilities.  Through a claims administrator, Greyhound will compensate individuals who experienced barriers based on disability during the three years prior to today’s filing.  There is no cap on the number of individuals who may submit claims or on the total amount to be disbursed by Greyhound through this process.  In addition, Greyhound will be required to pay a total of $300,000 among specific individuals identified by the department who experienced ADA violations.  Greyhound will also pay a civil penalty to the United States in the amount of $75,000.

In addition, the agreement mandates that Greyhound implement a series of systemic reforms, including the following:

hire an ADA Compliance Manager;
require all employees and contractors who may interact with the public to attend annual in-person training on the ADA;
provide technical training to all employees and contractors on the proper operation of accessibility features of Greyhound’s fleet;
report every three months to the department on its compliance efforts; and
ensure that persons with disabilities can make reservations for travel, and lodge disability-related requests, through its online booking system.

Individuals who experienced disability-related discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound buses during the previous three years may be eligible to receive a monetary award.  The claims administrator for the fund will be posted on Greyhound’s website, and on the department’s Disability Rights Section’s website at www.ada.gov following entry of the consent decree by the court.  Questions about making claims should be directed to the claims administrator. 
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Contractor to Pay 3 Female Carpenters Who Were Harassed

2014 - OFCCP

Constructora Santiago II Corp., a federal construction contractor in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will make a lump sum payment of $40,000 to three female carpenters who were sexually harassed, retaliated against and denied regular and overtime work hours comparable to those of their male counterparts. The settlement follows an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. OFCCP investigators determined that the company violated Executive Order 11246 by discriminating against women in compensation and by permitting sexual harassment and retaliation against employees who complained about a hostile work environment. Additionally, OFCCP found that Constructora Santiago did not provide adequate restroom facilities for female employees and that female workers were subjected to unwelcome, sexually charged comments, teasing, jokes and pressure to go out on dates. "No person — male or female — should have to put up with the degrading and inappropriate treatment these women faced just to get a paycheck," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu.

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Supreme Court Issues Favorable Ruling on Retaliation Claims

A good read by ritten by Fisher & Phillips

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in Indiana, recently reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment for an employer in a religious discrimination case. In a decision underscoring the risks involved in deciding whether to grant a request for a religious accommodation, the court found a jury should decide whether the employee request was religious in nature.

Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC, No. 12-3820 (7th Cir. July 31, 2013).

The court focused on whether Adeyeye’s request for leave placed Heartland on notice that he desired "religious" accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Adeyeye requested unpaid leave to attend his father’s funeral. In his first written request, dated July 19, 2010, he wrote:

I hereby request for five weeks leave in order to attend funeral ceremony of my father. This is very important for me to be there in order to participate in the funeral rite according to our custom and tradition. The ceremony usually cover from three to four weeks and is two weeks after the burial, there is certain rite[s] that all of the children must participate. And after the third week, my mother will not come out until after one month when I have to be there to encourage her, and I have to [k]ill five goats, then she can now come out. This is done compulsory for the children so that the death will not come or take away any of the children's life. I will appreciate if this request is approved.

Heartland denied this request. Adeyeye submitted another request on September 15, 2010 seeking three weeks of unpaid leave and one week of vacation, writing:

I hereby request for my one week vacation and three weeks leave in order to attend the funeral ceremony of my father in my country, Nigeria—Africa, which is taking place by October next month. This is the second time I will inform you and request for this travelling trip from the company but no reply to this matter. Nevertheless, the burial will be taking place by October next month and I have to be there and involved totally in this burial ceremony being the first child and the only son of the family. I therefore request for this period stated above for this trip and back to my work by November 4th, 2010. Your help towards this matter will be highly appreciated.

Heartland also rejected this request. Adeyeye went to Nigeria anyway, and Heartland terminated his employment.

Under Title VII, an employer must accommodate an employee’s request to participate in a religious observance or practice, if doing so would not cause the employer undue hardship. The court cited a 1965 Supreme Court case, which defined the test for a religious observance or practice as, "whether a given belief that is sincere and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God." In light of this and other broad definitions of religion, the court concluded a reasonable jury could find Adeyeye’s requests gave sufficient notice of the religious nature of his request for leave:

[The] first request referred to a ‘funeral ceremony,’ a ‘funeral rite,’ and animal sacrifice. He explained that participation in the funeral ceremonies was ‘compulsory’ and that the spiritual consequence of his absence would be his own and family members’ deaths. A reason-able jury could certainly find that the letter’s multiple references to spiritual activities and the potential consequences in the afterlife provided sufficient notice to Heartland that Adeyeye was making a religious request. The second request was not as specific as the first, but referred to a funeral ceremony and burial ceremony and the importance of his attendance as the first child and only son.

The court also concluded Adeyeye presented sufficient evidence that his religious beliefs were sincerely held, that his religious observance caused his termination and that Heartland could not meet its burden of showing that granting unpaid leave would have been an undue hardship. On the last point, Heartland argued that it offered Adeyeye an alternative accommodation in the form of voluntary self-termination with the possibility of being rehired. The court rejected Heartland’s argument:

Heartland had the good sense to relegate this argument to a footnote. It has little to recommend to it. We strain to imagine a situation in which such an offer could be considered an accommodation, nor could we locate a federal court in the country opining that such an accommodation could be reasonable for a religious request. Title VII does not contemplate asking employees to sacrifice their jobs to observe their religious practices. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Title VII aimed to ensure that employees would not have to sacrifice their jobs to observe their religious practices. An option of voluntary termination with the right to ask for one’s old job later is not a reasonable accommodation.

There are several takeaways from this decision. "Religion" is an extremely broad concept, and requests for religious accommodation need not mention "religion" or any particular religion (e.g., Islam). Where, in the court’s words, accommodation requests fall outside the scope of "familiar religions," employers should be careful about deciding whether the request is religious in nature. Employers should seek more information if in doubt as to the religious nature of a request. While employers are not necessarily required to grant the specific accommodation requested, they should consider how an objective third party would view alternative accommodations—such as the one Heartland proposed.

The foregoing provides an overview of certain legal issues. It is not intended, and cannot be construed, as legal advice for any purpose. For more information contact an attorney in Fisher & Phillips’ Louisville, Kentucky

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RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION / RETALIATION

Supreme Court Issues Favorable Ruling on Retaliation Claims

Thanks for this submission by Fisher & Phillips

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in Indiana, recently reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment for an employer in a religious discrimination case. In a decision underscoring the risks involved in deciding whether to grant a request for a religious accommodation, the court found a jury should decide whether the employee request was religious in nature.

Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC, No. 12-3820 (7th Cir. July 31, 2013).

The court focused on whether Adeyeye’s request for leave placed Heartland on notice that he desired "religious" accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Adeyeye requested unpaid leave to attend his father’s funeral. In his first written request, dated July 19, 2010, he wrote:

I hereby request for five weeks leave in order to attend funeral ceremony of my father. This is very important for me to be there in order to participate in the funeral rite according to our custom and tradition. The ceremony usually cover from three to four weeks and is two weeks after the burial, there is certain rite[s] that all of the children must participate. And after the third week, my mother will not come out until after one month when I have to be there to encourage her, and I have to [k]ill five goats, then she can now come out. This is done compulsory for the children so that the death will not come or take away any of the children's life. I will appreciate if this request is approved.

Heartland denied this request. Adeyeye submitted another request on September 15, 2010 seeking three weeks of unpaid leave and one week of vacation, writing:

I hereby request for my one week vacation and three weeks leave in order to attend the funeral ceremony of my father in my country, Nigeria

—Africa, which is taking place by Oc-tober next month. This is the second time I will inform you and request for this travelling trip from the company but no reply to this matter. Nevertheless, the burial will be taking place by October next month and I have to be there and involved totally in this burial cere-mony being the first child and the only son of the family. I therefore request for this period stated above for this trip and back to my work by November 4th, 2010. Your help towards this matter will be highly appreciated.

Heartland also rejected this request. Adeyeye went to Nigeria anyway, and Heartland terminated his employment.

Under Title VII, an employer must accommodate an employee’s request to participate in a religious observance or prac-tice, if doing so would not cause the employer undue hardship. The court cited a 1965 Supreme Court case, which defined the test for a religious observance or practice as, "whether a given belief that is sincere and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God." In light of this and other broad definitions of religion, the court con-cluded a reasonable jury could find Adeyeye’s requests gave sufficient notice of the religious nature of his request for leave:

[The] first request referred to a ‘funeral ceremony,’ a ‘funeral rite,’ and animal sacrifice. He explained that participation in the funeral ceremonies was ‘compulsory’ and that the spiri-tual consequence of his absence would be his own and family members’ deaths. A reason-able jury could certainly find that the letter’s multiple references to spiritual activities and

the potential consequences in the afterlife provided sufficient notice to Heartland that Ad-eyeye was making a religious request. The second request was not as specific as the first, but referred to a funeral ceremony and burial ceremony and the importance of his atten-dance as the first child and only son.

The court also concluded Adeyeye presented sufficient evidence that his religious beliefs were sincerely held, that his religious observance caused his termination and that Heartland could not meet its burden of showing that granting unpaid leave would have been an undue hardship. On the last point, Heartland argued that it offered Adeyeye an alternative accommodation in the form of voluntary self-termination with the possibility of being rehired. The court rejected Heartland’s argument:

Heartland had the good sense to relegate this argument to a footnote. It has little to rec-ommend to it. We strain to imagine a situation in which such an offer could be considered an accommodation, nor could we locate a federal court in the country opining that such an accommodation could be reasonable for a religious request. Title VII does not contemplate asking employees to sacrifice their jobs to observe their religious practices. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Title VII aimed to ensure that employees would

not have to sacrifice their jobs to observe their religious practices. An option of voluntary termination with the right to ask for one’s old job later is not a reasonable accommodation.

There are several takeaways from this decision. "Religion" is an extremely broad concept, and requests for religious accommodation need not mention "religion" or any particular religion (e.g., Islam). Where, in the court’s words, accommodation requests fall outside the scope of "familiar religions," employers should be careful about deciding whether the request is religious in nature. Employers should seek more information if in doubt as to the religious nature of a request. While employers are not necessarily required to grant the specific accommodation requested, they should consider how an objective third party would view alternative accommodations—such as the one Heartland proposed.

The foregoing provides an overview of certain legal issues. It is not intended, and cannot be construed, as legal advice for any purpose. For more information contact an attorney in Fisher & Phillips’ Louisville, Kentucky office (502-561-3990).

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Supreme Court Upholds EEOC’s Retaliation Reach (EEOC)

Fiancé of Person Filing a Charge of Discrimination Protected from Employer’s Retaliatory Action, Court Rules 1-24-11

EEOC:  The Supreme Court ruled that the fiancé of a woman who filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, was protected from retaliation by their mutual employer and had standing to redress this illegal act. In a unanimous opinion, Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, No. 09-291, the Supreme Court held that long-standing EEOC interpretations of the scope of the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) applied to an individual harmed by retaliation, even if that person had not himself filed a charge of discrimination.

In Thompson, Miriam Regalado filed a charge of discrimination against her employer, North American Stainless (NAS). Three weeks after receiving notice of the charge from the EEOC, NAS fired Regalado’s fiancé, Eric Thompson, who also worked there. Thompson then filed his own charge, claiming his termination was in retaliation for Regalado’s initial charge. After the district court in Kentucky and the entire Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Thompson could not raise a retaliation claim because he himself had not filed a charge of discrimination, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and issued its decision reversing the lower courts’ opinions.

This past fiscal year, the EEOC received more charges alleging retaliation than any other basis, supplanting race discrimination charges for the first time in its 45-year history as the most numerous.

Issues of Note:  The Supreme Court considered whether Thompson could sue his employer under Title VII even though he had not personally engaged in protected activity. The Court agreed Thompson could legally file suit because he was an employee of the same company (as his fiancé) and was within the “zone of interests protected by Title VII.”  The Court concluded that by injuring Thompson, an unlawful act occurred which was intended to further injure the original complainant. 

 

EEO GUIDANCE Comments:  The Supreme Court declined to identify a fixed class of relationships that are protected from third party retaliation; however, they did indicate that firing a close family member will almost always meet the standard and inflicting a milder reprisal upon a mere acquaintance will almost never do so.  As they have done in ADA cases, the Court is passing the judgment calls back to the employers to look at each case individually. Expect EEO retaliation claims to continue to grow and caution management employees of the consequences.  Supervisors and managers would do well to learn to bite down hard on their fingers before responding to anger that can quickly lead to retaliation.    
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Major Construction Firm to Pay $110,000 To Settle EEOC Suit For Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

Brand Energy Fired Employee for Refusing Supervisor’s Requests for Sex, Federal Agency Charged - 2-23-11 (EEOC web site)

Four related national construction companies -- Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services, Inc., Brand Services, LLC, Brand Energy Solutions, LLC, and Brand Scaffold Services, LLC (Brand) -- will pay $110,000 to settle a suit for sexual harassment and retaliation filed by the EEOC, the agency announced today. The court-approved settlement resolves the charge of a former employee, Jauronice Hayes, who worked for Brand at its Conoco Phillips facility in Belle Chasse, La.

In its suit, the EEOC charged that Hayes was sexually harassed by her male supervisor. The harassment included inappropriate sexual statements, requests and demands for sexual favors, and sexual touching, the EEOC said. The suit also charged that he exposed his genitals to Hayes and informed Hayes that if she did not have sex with him, she would be laid off. Hayes anonymously complained about the sexual harassment to a company hotline and also repeatedly opposed the sexual harassment and rejected her supervisor’s sexual advances, according to the suit.

As a result of her complaint, her opposition to this harassment and her rejection of his sexual advances, Brand fired Hayes, the EEOC said. After Brand terminated Hayes, her supervisor left the company’s employment.

The EEOC also alleges that this supervisor had previously harassed another female employee, who no longer works for the company.

“Egregious sexual harassment, including unwanted touching and demands for sex with the threat of being fired, fundamentally violates the notion of a fair workplace and is unlawful,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “When an employee is fired in retaliation for complaining about that kind of conduct, it is especially troubling. Employers must understand that if they subject employees to sexual harassment or fire them for complaining, there will be serious consequences.”

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“I just wanted to do my job and be left alone,” said Hayes. “My boss touching my body and trying to pressure me to have sex with him really hurt me. No woman should have to choose between putting up with this kind of abuse or losing her job and not being able to support her family. I could not stand the idea that the company or this man might do this again to someone else. I felt that if I did not stand up for myself, I would be letting others down and setting a bad example for my kids. People out there need to know that they have rights and that the EEOC can help them. The fact that the company will have to change the way it does things in the future was very important to me.”

Under the court-ordered consent decree settling the suit, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Case No. 10:3306 ), Brand will pay Hayes $100,000, and $10,000 to the second victim. The company will also provide annual training to more than 450 personnel in its Gulf Region, encompassing Texas and Louisiana, covering its operations involving about 6,500


EEO/AA Decisions and Pending Cases

PRIVATE INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES / UPDATE

This section is frequently updated with the latest in EEOC and OFCCP Discrimination Cases

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