Telling an Employee to Focus on Their Health While Terminating Them is Evidence of Disability Discrimination
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against two car dealerships, which allegedly fired a title clerk, because they feared that she might have cancer. The employee had missed several days of work because of an abrupt illness, and she also told management that she had been hospitalized and was being tested for cancer. A day before her planned return to work, the dealerships fired the title clerk, telling her to “focus on her health” and stated that the termination of her employment was not because of her work performance. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability or a perceived disability. See EEOC v. Cappo Management, No. 2:20-cv-02245 (E.D. Cal.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled a lawsuit against Dollar Tree, after the EEOC alleged that Dollar Tree discriminated against an applicant because of their disability. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that a deaf prospective employee applied to Dollar Tree but was denied the job. Instead of hiring this applicant, the EEOC alleged that Dollar Tree instead hired applicants with worse qualifications who were not hearing impaired. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against both employees and applicants on the basis of their disability or requests for reasonable accommodations. See EEOC v. Dollar Tree Distribution, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-05959 (W.D. Wash.).
Charter Senior Living has settled a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that Charter hired a new employee who passed her pre-employment physical. This employee worked for Charter for weeks without any issue until Charter learned that she had nerve damage in one of her hands. After learning of this nerve damage, Charter insisted that the employee complete another physical. The second physical resulted in a determination that the employee met physical standards, but she was not passed unconditionally because of the nerve damage. Charter ultimately fired the employee. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an employee’s disabilities or requests for reasonable accommodations due to a disability. See EEOC v. Charter Senior Living, LLC, No. 3:21-cv-00708 (N.D. Ohio).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit for $390,000 and other relief against BMW Cleveland, in which the EEOC alleged that the company had subjected three of its employees to age discrimination. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that BMW Cleveland refused to hire one of its former employees because of her age (52), and that it also fired two of its other employees due to their ages (67 and 70). This alleged conduct would be a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination, including a refusal to hire, against employees or prospective employees due to their age. See EEOC v. Davis Automotive Group, Inc. t/a BMW Cleveland, No. 1:19-cv-02257 (N.D. Ohio).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed a lawsuit against a fabrication, coating, and assembly company, Ranew's Management, for allegedly terminating an employee due to his disability and requests for a reasonable accommodation. The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that Ranew fired one of its employees after he had informed the company that he had been diagnosed with severe depression and asked for three weeks off of work as an accommodation for his disability. This accommodation request for time off of work was recommended by the employee’s doctor. The CEO of Ranew told the employee to take as much time as he needed. The employee tried to return to work with a doctor’s release six weeks later, but the CEO told the employee that he could not trust him to perform his job duties, and he fired the employee. The alleged conduct would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability. Employers are also obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. See EEOC v. Ranew's Management Co., No. 5:21-cv-00443 (M.D. Ga.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently won a jury verdict finding that RockAuto discriminated against a prospective employee by failing to hire him due to his age. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that the potential employee applied for a job as a Supply Chain Manager in 2016, and that he had many years of relevant experience. After receiving the application, RockAuto asked the applicant when he had received his undergraduate degree. The applicant informed RockAuto of the year (more than twenty years before his application), and he was rejected for the position the very next day. Instead, RockAuto hired significantly younger and less qualified candidates for the position. This conduct is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants on this basis of their age. See EEOC v. RockAuto, LLC, No. 3:18-cv-00797 (W.D. Wis. 2020).
The EEOC recently settled a lawsuit alleging that one of Walmart’s male employees subjected a female employee to sexually inappropriate and unwanted vulgar comments, advances, and touching . The EEOC further alleged that Walmart had known of this conduct for years through written complaints. The lawsuit claimed that the male employee commented on female coworkers’ breasts and buttocks, that he told one female co-worker that he couldn’t wait to see her in thong underwear, that he made repeated invites to “hang out” alone with female co-workers despite repeated rejections, and that he stated he wanted to have sex with certain female co-workers who had told him they were not interested. On one occasion, one of the victims of the harassment reported the conduct and was advised that she should “stand up for herself” and put her “big girl panties on.” This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment. See EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, No. 6:19-cv-06718 (W.D.N.Y.).
The EEOC recently sued a Sonic restaurant franchise for sexual harassment, alleging that one of the franchise’s co-managers made inappropriate sexual comments to at least three separate teenage female “carhops.” The manager also allegedly propositioned these women and subjected them to inappropriate and unwanted physical touching. Despite reports of this sexual harassment, Sonic took no action to prevent or mitigate the harassment. Instead, the manager was given a promotion. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment. See EEOC v. SDI of Mineola, L.L.C., No. 6:21-CV-00226 (E.D. Tex.).
The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against AscensionPoint Recovery Services, alleging that the company discriminated against an employee due to his sincerely held religious beliefs. The EEOC lawsuit claims that AscensionPoint asked one of its employees to have his fingerprints taken as part of a background check for a client. The employee informed Ascension point that taking his fingerprints was in contradiction to his sincerely held religious beliefs, and that he therefore could not do this. Instead of trying to accommodate this employee, AscensionPoint fired him. Indeed, the lawsuit alleges that AscensionPoint did not even ask the client if there was a possible alternative in order to accommodate this employee. The EEOC alleges that this alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination against employees due to their sincerely held religious beliefs. See EEOC v. AscensionPoint Recovery Services, LLC, No. 0:21-cv-01428 (D. Minn.).
The Department of Labor has recovered back pay wages for 80 employees who were illegally denied overtime payment by a nonprofit company, Keystone Adolescent Center. This company ran five facilities with the goal of helping at-risk youth. The Department of Labor investigated the company and found that 80 employees there were obligated to attend meetings and trainings outside of their normal working hours. Despite this, Keystone did not pay these employees any wages whatsoever for this time. Instead, Keystone only paid the employees to attend these meetings if the meetings happened to occur during the employees’ regularly scheduled shifts. This conduct is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers are obligated to pay their employees for mandatory work meetings, even when such meetings happen outside of normal shift times. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20210405-1
The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against Burrow Global Services, LLC, which is an engineering and construction company. The EEOC had alleged that Burrow discriminated against one of its electrical designers (who was over 60 years old) based on his age after the electrical designer’s supervisor was replaced with a much younger individual. Right after this supervisor took over, he made repeated comments to the older designer about retirement and regularly asked when the designer was planning to retire. Soon after, this same supervisor terminated the designer’s employment and offered the job to a significantly younger person. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Employers may not discriminate against or terminate older employees due to their age. See EEOC v. Burrow Global Services, LLC, No. 4:20-cv-00423 (S.D. Tex.).
The U.S. Department of Labor recently found that a restaurant group owed back wages to eleven of its employees because the employer had illegally denied these employees time-and-a-half overtime wages. The DOL found that the company had misclassified its cooks and dishwashers as exempt from overtime wages. Even though the cooks and dishwashers were paid a salary, none of the exceptions to overtime were applicable. Therefore, the company was required to pay them time-and-a-half wages for all time worked more than 40 hours in a week. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20210310
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has settled a lawsuit that it filed against a security company that allegedly terminated one of its employees due to her pregnancy. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that Allied Universal transferred one of its security guards to a more difficult post after it learned that she was pregnant. The security guard told Allied Universal that this new post was causing her pain. In response, Allied Universal did not move the employee back to her original post but instead requested a doctor’s note. The employee provided Allied Universal with the note, and Allied placed the employee on a leave of absence involuntarily. Allied then demanded another doctor’s note in order to release her to return to work. Again, the security guard provided this note. Despite this, Allied kept the employee on leave for more than a month and then terminated her employment. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See EEOC v. U.S. Security Associates, Inc., No. 2:20-cv-02467 (E.D. La.).
The EEOC recently settled a lawsuit against Optimal Solutions & Technologies, Inc. after the EEOC alleged that the company terminated one of its employees after he disclosed a disability. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that one of the senior administrators working at Optimal Solutions told his supervisor that he had a benign brain tumor, and that this brain tumor would require radiation treatment for about six weeks. The employee also informed his supervisor that the treatments would occur after work and would not impact his job. Despite this, and despite the employees continued strong work performance, Optimal Solutions terminated his employment just a month after he informed Optimal Solutions of his disability and only one week before his radiation treatment was scheduled to begin. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from firing employees because of a disability or because of their requests for reasonable accommodations due to a disability. EEOC v. Optimal Solutions & Technologies, No. 8:17-cv-02861 (D. Md.).
The EEOC recently settled a lawsuit in which it alleged that a male manager had targeted young female employees around the ages of 15-to-20 and subjected them to sexual harassment. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that the manager made sexual comments to these women and that he inappropriately touched and groped some of them. The EEOC further alleged that he asked one of the restaurant’s 15 year old employees to text him nude pictures of herself. This event led to the arrest of the manager by the local police. Despite the accusation, arrest, and indeed a guilty plea for misdemeanor harassment, the restaurant allowed the manager to return to work and did not stop the inappropriate behavior. The EEOC’s Complaint asserted that New China terminated the employment of at least one female employee in retaliation for her complaints of sexual harassment by this manager. This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment as well as retaliation for complaints of sexual harassment. See EEOC v. New China, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-00277 (D. Or.).
The U.S. Department of Labor recently succeeded in recovering over $50,000 of back wages for more than 50 employees who worked for Sprouts Farmers Market, which the DOL claimed did not record nor pay employees for work that they performed off of the clock, before and after scheduled shift times, and during meal breaks. Employers are obligated to pay their employees for all hours that the employees work, even if such hours are off of the clock or before or after their scheduled shift. The failure to record or pay for these hours resulted in the employer violating overtime laws pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under that law, almost all hourly employees are entitled to time-and-a-half overtime wages for every hour that they work over forty in a workweek.
An aerospace components manufacturer, United Precision Products Co., recently settled a lawsuit that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed against it. The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that United Precision failed to hire a prospective employee because of his age (64). The applicant sought work at United Precision through a staffing agency, however, during the interview process, United’s Precision’s plant supervisor asked for the prospective employee’s age, when he graduated high school, and his driver’s license. After the interview, this same supervisor told the staffing agency that they were rejecting the applicant because he did not have the “desire” for the job. This alleged conduct is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The ADEA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees due to their age. See EEOC v. United Precision Products Co., No. 2:20-cv-10930 (S.D. Mich.).
A collection of residential care facilities have been ordered to pay a significant penalty by the U.S. Department of Labor, after the DOL found that the owners of the facilities had violated both minimum wage and overtime laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act. An investigation found that owners were paying certain employees flat rates per day, regardless of the number of hours that the employees worked. By doing this, the company tried to eschew overtime laws that require time-and-a-half overtime wages to employees who worked over forty hours in a workweek. In addition, the company also did not pay employees for certain hours that they worked, such as hours for required training. The laundry list of violations continued with a failure to display the FLSA poster and a failure to keep accurate records for weekly hours worked and paid. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits all of these violations. Non-exempt employees must be paid time-and-a-half overtime wages when they work over forty hours in a workweek, even when the employees are paid a “flat rate.” An employer in Ohio who violates overtime laws may be required to pay all unpaid wages, an equal amount of liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against a security services firm in which the EEOC had claimed that the company had subjected female employees to sexual harassment and at least one employee to retaliation as well. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that one of the company’s site managers had subjected a female security guard to unwanted touching, inappropriate and lewd sexual comments, and that he had cornered this guard in an elevator and kissed her without consent. The guard complained to management. Instead of addressing the manager’s inappropriate and illegal behavior, the company fired the guard in retaliation for her complaints. The EEOC further alleged that this manager had also sexually harassed a class of female employees at the company with similar behavior including sexual advances, inappropriate sexual comments, requests for explicit pictures, and an attempt to kiss another employee. Other managers saw this harassment, but the company did nothing to stop it. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, as well as complaints about such discrimination and harassment. See EEOC v. MVM, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-02881 (D. Md.).
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against Nature’s Medicines. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that one of the General Managers subjected multiple employees to a hostile work environment. The lawsuit further claimed that the harassment involved unwelcome touching and offensive sexual comments to the staff and offensive sexual comments to and about customers. On at least one occasion, the GM showed an employee a nude picture on his phone. Multiple employees complained about this behavior. This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment. See EEOC v. AMMA Investment Group, LLC, No. 1:20-cv-02786 (D. Md.).