The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against a Korean restaurant chain. The EEOC had filed a lawsuit against the restaurant claiming that the owner and chef subjected one of his female employees to sexual harassment and that he had offered her money in exchange for sex. The EEOC further alleged that the harassment eventually rose to sexual assault and forced the employee to resign. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment. See EEOC v. 3501 Seoul, LLC, No. 1:20-cv-00277 (S.D. Ohio).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against a franchise that operates seven McDonald’s restaurants. The lawsuit alleged that the company subjected a teenage employee to sexual harassment. The EEOC’s lawsuit asserted that one of the company’s managers sexually harassed a 16 year old employee. The EEOC claimed that the teenage employee endured sexual comments, sexual requests, and that a supervisor offered her money in exchange for naked pictures of herself. The Complaint further alleged that the harassment eventually reached a point where the supervisor sexually assaulted the employee. The alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See EEOC v. Par Ventures, Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s, No. 5:19-cv-00341 (E.D.N.C.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against UPS Freight in which the EEOC had alleged that UPS had discriminated against an employee after he had a stroke in 2013. The employee requested a reasonable accommodation of temporary non-driving work, but UPS would not permit this accommodation. At the time that the employee made this request, UPS had a policy (which was part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement) of only granting this type of reassignment to drivers whose licenses had been suspended for a non-medical reason. In 2018, the EEOC was able to obtain an order from the court that this policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Last month, the EEOC reached a settlement for the employee’s damages. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their disability. See EEOC v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc., No. 2:17-cv-02453 (D. Kan.).
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that firing employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex. Title VII applies to most employers in the United States with fifteen or more employees. The Court ruled that when employers fire employees who are homosexual or transgender, that employer “fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” The Court reasoned that it is not possible for an employer to make an employment decision based on an employee’s sexual orientation without considering sex. Since 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has forbidden employers from discriminating against its employees because of their sex. Simply put, when Title VII applies, employers cannot fire an employee because they are gay, lesbian, or transgender. This applies even to employment decisions that occurred prior to the date of the Supreme Court’s opinion. The full opinion can be found at this link: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a lawsuit against Albertsons after it alleged that the company had implemented a blanket rule that discriminated against employees because of their national origin. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that the company had allowed one of its managers to discriminate against and harass its Hispanic employees because they spoke Spanish. The Complaint alleged that the company prohibited its Hispanic employees from speaking Spanish, including to Spanish speaking customers and during breaks. The employees were reprimanded when they did speak Spanish. The EEOC considers a blanket “English-only” rule whereby employees may not speak any language other than English (including during breaks) to be a form of national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See EEOC v. Albertsons Companies, Inc., No. 3:18-cv-00852 (S.D. Cal.).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a disability discrimination case against an internet retailer, Black Forest Decor, for allegedly firing one of its warehouse workers for taking a leave of absence due to a disability. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that the employee informed the company that she would need surgery within months due to a medical condition from which she suffered. This employee’s doctor had permitted her to work until she had her surgery. Despite this, the company forced the employee to take an unpaid leave until that time because it supposedly feared liability if anything were to happen to her. The employee took the leave as mandated by the company and kept Black Forest apprised of the details regarding her surgery, but Black Forest did not contact her for three weeks, at which point it fired the employee for alleged “excessive absences.” This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits companies from discriminating against employees because of perceived disabilities. See EEOC v. Black Forest Décor, LLC, No. 5:19-cv-00894 (W.D. Okla.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a retaliation lawsuit against Brookdale Senior Living Communities after the EEOC sued Brookdale for alleged race discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that Brookdale had employed an African American caregiver who overheard her co-workers making comments with racial connotations that she found offensive. This caregiver complained about the racially offensive comments and discrimination. Shortly after her complaint, Brookdale suspended the caregiver and then eventually fired her in retaliation for the complaints. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from retaliating when an employee complains about race discrimination, even in circumstances where the discrimination is based on comments that the employee perceives as discriminatory. See EEOC v. Brookdale Senior Living Communities, Inc., No. 2:20-cv-00993 (E.D. Cal.).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached a settlement with St. Vincent Hospital in a lawsuit where the EEOC alleged that the hospital discriminated against an employee because of a disability and then retaliated after this employee complained of discrimination. The lawsuit claimed that one of St. Vincent Hospital’s employees, Asheley Coriz, was subjected to a hostile work environment by her supervisor because Ms. Coriz is deaf. The lawsuit further claimed that Ms. Coriz was not granted reasonable accommodations, and that St. Vincent then fired Ms. Coriz after she complained about St. Vincent’s failure to grant her requested reasonable accommodations and her supervisor’s discriminatory conduct. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA protects employees from discrimination and retaliation due to a disability. See EEOC v. St. Vincent Hospital, No. 1:19-cv-00764 (D.N.M.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit that it had filed last year, in which the EEOC had alleged that a company had discriminated against multiple employees due to their religion and national origin and retaliated against these employees after they complained about the hostile work environment that Service Caster Corporation created. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that Service Caster subjected three of its Puerto Rican employees to a hostile work environment because of the Puerto Rican national origin and also because of their sincerely held religious beliefs, Pentecostal. Specifically, the EEOC asserted that the Plant Manager regularly made derogatory, insulting, and negative remarks about the employees’ national origin and called their religion a cult. The employees complained to the owner, but the harassment continued, and Service Caster eventually retaliated by reducing their hours and responsibility and eventually terminating their employment. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on an employee’s national origin and religion. See EEOC v. Service Caster Corp., No. 5:19-cv-04525 (E.D. Pa.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Thompson Construction Group, Inc., for allegedly firing a black employee due to his race. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that Thompson hired this employee to work as a pipefitter foreman to oversee a crew of pipe workers. Just a few months after he was hired, a white subordinate employee made derogatory and offensive comments to this foreman based on his race. Instead of terminating the Caucasian employee, Thompson Construction fired the African American pipefitter foreman. The EEOC is alleging that the pipefitter foreman was fired because of his race. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race. See EEOC v. Thompson Construction Group, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-00406 (M.D.N.C.).
Staffing Company Could Be Liable For Continuing To Doing Business with Employer that Discriminates Against Pregnant Employees
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity recently filed a lawsuit against both a company, LogistiCare Solutions LLC, and a staffing agency that provided the company with employees, HCM Staffing, for allegedly violating federal pregnancy discrimination laws. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that HCM placed at least two pregnant employees at LogistiCare to work as customer service representatives, but LogistiCare fired both of them after a one-week training. The lawsuit further alleges that LogistiCare fired the employees because it assumed they could not meet the company’s attendance policy due to their pregnancy. The EEOC also claims that the staffing agency knew that LogistiCare fired these employees because of their pregnancies but it continued staffing LogistiCare and it complied with LogistiCare’s decision to terminate the employees. This alleged conduct by both companies is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of a disability. See EEOC v. LogistiCare Solutions, LLC, No. 2:20-cv-00852 (D. Ariz.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a class action lawsuit after alleging that the employer implemented an attendance policy that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that the company had an attendance policy with a hard cap on the number of absences employees could have, regardless of whether the absences were due to a disability from which an employee suffered. If an employee reached the maximum number of absences allowed, then the company would fire the employee even if there was a doctor’s excuse or medical documents to explain the absence. This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their disabilities and requires employers to grant reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. See EEOC v. Wayne Farms, LLC, No. 5:16-cv-01347 (N.D. Ala.).
Disability discrimination has broad coverage, including prohibitions on terminating an employee for a perceived disability. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against a company that it alleged had discriminated against an employee because it perceived the employee as disabled. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that IDEC Corporation viewed one of its employees as disabled because of sleep apnea and a heart condition. The EEOC further alleged that the company terminated the employee due to these perceived disabilities. These alleged actions are illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. See EEOC v. IDEC Corp., No. 18-cv-4168 (N.D. Ill.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against American Securities Insurance Company in which it had alleged that the company terminated an employee due to a disability. The lawsuit claimed that because the employee suffered from Type 2 diabetes, she requested that she be permitted to work from home. Although the company purported to grant this request, the EEOC claimed that the employee’s supervisor complained about her doing telework, criticized her performance, and eventually fired the employee. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. See EEOC v. American Security Insurance Co., No. 1:19-CV-3411 (N.D. Ga.).
The EEOC filed a lawsuit against three Ohio restaurants with the same owner. The EEOC claims that the owner and chef of the restaurants subjected a female waitress to unwelcome, offensive, and repeated sexual comments and advances to the waitress that became so severe it eventually led to her being forced to resign her job. The owner allegedly offered money in exchange for sex and sexually assaulted the waitress, and these actions reached a level that forced the waitress to resign from her job. These alleged actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, including propositioning an employee for sex in exchange for money or promotions. See EEOC v. 3501 Seoul, LLC, SushiNati, LLC, Korea House, LLC, No.1:20-cv-00277 (S.D. Ohio).
The EEOC recently sued a chain of fast food restaurants, Smashburger, for allegedly subjecting an employee to racial harassment. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that one of its black employees was subjected to a racially hostile work environment by a general manager who made repeated offensive and demeaning racial comments about the black employee to his fiancée (another employee at the restaurant), such as making suggestions that she should break up with her fiancé because he is black. The lawsuit further alleges that the company took nearly a year after complaints started before it started conducting a serious investigation. This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees because of their race. See EEOC V. Icon Burger Acquisition, LLC d/b/a Smashburger, No. 2:20-cv-01601 (E.D.N.Y.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity recently filed a lawsuit against a special events company that assists with weddings and other corporate events, Great Rentals and Events, LLC. The EEOC claims that this company subjected one of its female employees to a hostile work environment and then terminated her in retaliation for complaining about this hostile work environment. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that the company’s owner made repeated demeaning comments about women, such as calling women “worthless because they have kids” and referring to female employees as “little girls.” A female employee complained to human resources about these comments, and the EEOC claims that she was fired in retaliation. This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation for complaints of sex discrimination or sexual harassment. See EEOC v. Great Rentals and Events, LLC, No. 5:20-cv-448 (W.D. Tex.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit alleging that a chain of convenience stores had discriminated against nine disabled employees. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that the company fired a warehouse worker as well as eight other disabled employees who required reasonable accommodations from the company. The accommodations requested by the impacted individuals included modified work duties or an exception to the company’s rule of terminating employees who missed more than three days of work if they didn’t qualify for other leave. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Companies may not terminate their employees because they suffer from disabilities or request accommodations due to their disabilities. See EEOC v. Brown-Thompson General Partnership, No. 5:16-cv-1142 (W.D. Okla.).
The EEOC filed a lawsuit recently against Telluride Express in which the EEOC alleged that Telluride refused to hire an applicant over age 75 because of his age. Having over fifty years of experience with commercial driving, the applicant applied to work for Telluride as a shuttle driver, but Telluride denied the prospective employee’s application the very next day because the company’s commercial auto insurance policy did not cover shuttle drivers over the age of 75. The EEOC’s lawsuit further claims that the prospective employee was just as qualified as younger drivers, recently passed a Department of Transportation medical exam, and had no traffic violations in the past three years. The alleged conduct is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits employers from refusing to hire older applicants because of their age. See EEOC v. San Miguel Mountain Ventures, LLC, No. 1:20-cv-00881 (D. Colo.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed a lawsuit against Blue Sky Vision L.L.C., in which the EEOC has alleged that the company forced an employee to respond to an improper medical inquiry and then terminated him because of a perceived disability. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that it hired the employee in June 2018 to work as an optometrist. Three months after it hired him, the employee mentioned to a coworker that he suffered from a disability. Blue Sky learned about the employee’s medical condition, and it told him that he could no longer work for the company. In response, this employee complained that Blue Sky’s actions were illegal, so the company postponed the termination of his employment, put the employee on a leave of absence, and subjected him to a medical inquiry into his health conditions, which was not related to his job or his ability to perform his job. The employee refused to complete the medical inquiry, and Blue Sky terminated his employment in response. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of a disability or a perceived disability. See EEOC v. Blue Sky Vision, LLC, No. 1:20-cv-00285 (W.D. Mich.).