Distilling What Went Wrong In Latest Settled EEOC Lawsuits

Distilling What Went Wrong In Latest Settled EEOC Lawsuits

A&E Tire pays $60,000 to settle sex discrimination lawsuit; Denver, CO.

A&E offered a job to Egan Woodward but did not hire him after learning he was transgender.  Woodward checked the box “female” on his background screening paperwork.  A&E rescinded his offer and hired someone else.

ETC tip:  Beyond the obvious, remove the question of gender from all applications.  Gender should not matter in any application.

JBS Carriers to pay $250,000 to settle disability claim; Denver, CO.

JBS Carriers retained a 3rd party vendor to administer pre-employment screening of applicants for truck driving jobs.  This 3rd party vendor’s screening process screened out persons with disabilities who were otherwise qualified for the position.

ETC tip:  Be careful who you hire to perform pre-screening checks. If they are not complying with the discrimination rules, the employer can be held to blame.

American Pride Waste Solutions to pay $32,500 for failure to interview female, Bluffton, SC.

Waste disposal company failed to interview Christina Rivers for a waste truck driver position because of her gender.  Rivers was fully qualified for the job and held all necessary licenses.  The company had no good excuse why it failed to even interview Rivers for the position.

Manufacturer of diesel engines to pay $77,500 to settle pay discrimination lawsuit, Nashville, TN.

Cummins, Inc. paid a female employee less than a male employee despite that they both performed the same job duties as benefits enrollment / HR personnel.  Upon request, Cummins performed a salary review and determined it was paying the female less but did not increase her salary accordingly.

ETC Tip:  If a complaint is lodged and investigation performed, act on the results of the investigation and correct the bad conduct.

National Provider of Housing and Support Services to pay $150,000 for sex harassment; New York, NY.

Female employees complained that the supervisor continually made unwelcome sexual advances, made offensive comments and treated these employees in a verbally abusive manner.  Employees complained to other managers and one manager commented that the supervisor was just being “playful.”  The conduct continued and the company was sued.

ETC Tip:  Companies must have formal reporting procedures and investigative process that it follows when complaints are made. 

Protocall Communications to pay $31,000 for disability discrimination; Baltimore, MD.

Employee with dyslexia was asked if she had a learning disability and she said yes.  Director of Human Resources told her there was no point in continuing the training as a telemarketer and fired her.

ETC Tip:  We are hopeful that the error made here is obvious.

Mid South Extrusion to pay $70,000 to settle disability discrimination lawsuit; New Orleans.

A flexible packaging company fired Jeffrey Wyant once he found out that he had a lung impairment.  The company was concerned that he could not work in their plastics manufacturing facility without further harming his health.

ETC Tip:  the American Disabilities Act protects employees from adverse employment actions due to health issues.  Had the company followed protocol and considered reasonable accommodations and / or investigated and determined that the employee could not have performed his essential job functions even with an accommodation, this suit could have been avoided. 

Goodwill Industries sued for failure to provide disability accommodations; New York, NY.

Janitorial employee with cognitive disabilities had trouble interacting with others appropriately.  Instead of providing training and explaining what the inappropriate conduct was, this employee’s supervisor wrote the employee up multiple times and eventually fired him for misconduct.

ETC Tip:  Had the supervisor worked with HR and the employee to try and correct the behavior, the employee may have still been released but filing suit would have been less likely because at least they tried to work the situation out.  Throwing up their proverbial hands and outright firing this person without trying was the mistake here.

IHOP Sued for Sexual Harassment; Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Owner / general manager consistently harassed female employees by asking them on dates, making crude sexual remarks and touching them.  For this, the EEOC sued.

ETC Tip:  The fact that the alleged perpetrator is the owner of the restaurant would indicate that this entity had NO procedures in place to prevent workplace harassment much less protocols to report and investigate the bad behavior. 

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas to pay $75,000 in Disability Discrimination Suit; Dallas, TX.

Applicant for claims examiner position applied through an online process.  After submitting her resume, Sheryl Meador was invited to complete a 35-minute assessment exam.  Part of the exam included an audio portion which Meador was unable to complete and thus she was unable to complete the application process.   Meador contacted the recruitment office and HR and requested an accommodation.  This request was ignored and she was not hired.

ETC Tip:  As our society moves further into the online world, employers must be cognizant of tests that otherwise qualified applicants are unable to complete because of a disability.  At a minimum, if online assessments are part of an organization, there should be a disclaimer within the body of the test advising “if unable to complete any portion, please contact Human Resources” and when a request is submitted, it should be considered.

Real Estate Investment Firm to pay $60,000 for Pregnancy Discrimination Suit; Camden, NJ.

EEOC charged that this firm subjected a leasing agent who was pregnant to more scrutiny and discipline after she told management she was pregnant.  She was then fired, according to the EEOC, because she was pregnant.

ETC Tip:  The charge here is without any detail.  What comes to mind is the fact that if an employee is not behaving correctly and violates company policies, the company must document the infractions and ensure that a person is not being treated differently than any other employee REGARDLESS of disability or other protected class.  Documentation is KEY.

EEOC sues party city for sex and disability discrimination; Houston, TX.

Jahneiss Groce hired by Party City as a team lead experienced complications in her pregnancy due to cancer treatment.  When she presented Party City with medical restrictions from her doctor, Party City fired her.

ECT Tip:  Really…….

Stanley Black & Decker to pay $140,000 to settle disability discrimination suit; Baltimore, MD.

An inside sales representative who exceeded her sales goals and quotas was fired for poor attendance.   She had requested unpaid leave for medical appointments and cancer treatment and the company failed to provide her with this requested leave accommodation.  The company also had no written policies addressing exceptions to attendance policies based on accommodations for disabilities.

ECT Tip:  Handbook MUST include standard ADA accommodations language and companies must follow these procedures. 

Home improvement contractor sued for national origin discrimination; San Francisco, CA.

Ayesha Faiz who was hired to make appointments with potential customers is a female of Afghan descent.  In her work, she learned that the company had a practice of rejecting all potential customers perceived to be Middle Eastern or Indian.

ETC Tip:  The practice relates to a private employer refusing to do business with others.  What is interesting is that even though technically the EEOC has no standing when the alleged discrimination is directed towards non-employees, the claim here is that the employer subjected this employee to a hostile work environment based on its discriminatory practices directed at customers. 

EEOC Sues Erickson Living management for retaliation; Baltimore, MD.

A supervisor complained to human resources that her subordinate was being mistreated by other employees due to her disability.  Both the supervisor and the subordinate were then fired as part of a purposed company restructuring which the EEOC maintains was no more than a pretext for a retaliatory motive.

ETC Tip:  Temporal Proximity will get you every time.

USA Parking Services to pay $150,000 in disability discrimination lawsuit; Miami, FL.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, USA Parking Services, Inc. violated the law by refusing to hire a deaf applicant for a valet attendant position based on the assumption that a deaf person could not perform the essential functions of the job rather than its conducting an individualized assessment of his abilities.

ETC Tip:  Follow the proper ADA procedures and perform the necessary analysis to determine what the essential job functions are and whether there are accommodations that are reasonable and would allow a disabled employee (applicant) to do the job. 

EEOC Sues American Freight Furniture and Mattress for systematic sex-based discrimination in Hiring, Birmingham, AL.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, since at least January 1, 2013, American Freight engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of discrimination against women, intentionally excluding qualified female applicants from sales and warehouse jobs because of their sex. Corporate managers instructed store managers not to hire women because women “complain and make trouble.” Store employees also heard store managers say that women: “bitch too much;” are too much of “a distraction” to the male employees; cannot work in the warehouse because “women can’t lift,” and do not “do as great a job at selling furniture as men,” according to the suit.

ETC Tip:  Come on people.  We are in 2019 not 1956!

Park School of Baltimore will pay $41,000 to settle sex discrimination suit; Baltimore, MD.

According to the suit, the Park School hired a male head softball coach in the spring of 2014 and renewed his employment contract as head softball coach in 2015 and 2016. The EEOC charged that despite his satisfactory job performance, in 2017 the Park School told the coach that it would not renew his contract for the 2017 softball season because of its “preference for female leadership.”

ETC Tip:  Sex Discrimination goes both ways.



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