EEOC Recovers $40K for Applicant for Caregiving Job Spurned Because of TB Test

This Maryland decided settling was preferable to going to court over its decision to rescind an employment offer to a job applicant who was tested for tuberculosis.

M&R Consulting, LLC, a Towson, Md.,-based home care agency doing business as Home Instead Senior Care, will pay $40,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle an EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), announced September 4.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, M&R Consulting conditionally hired a qualified applicant for a caregiving position in Towson, subject to her passing pre-employment requirements, including a skin test for tuberculosis. M&R Consulting wrongfully rescinded her offer of employment as a home caregiver based on the skin test because it regarded her as having tuberculosis, even though the applicant later submitted a chest x-ray which confirmed she did not have tuberculosis.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination due to disability or a perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. M&R Consulting, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01638-ELH) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $40,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to the applicant, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides significant equitable relief, including prohibiting M&R Consulting from violating the ADA. M&R Consulting will revise its hiring procedures and provide ADA-compliant steps to determine whether an individual has active or latent tuberculosis. M&R Consulting shall revise its post-offer testing forms to clearly state that applicants shall not be excluded from employment simply due to receiving a positive purified protein derivative skin test. The company will provide ADA training to all human resources personnel and all personnel who are involved with the pre-employment drug screening process and hiring process. M&R Consulting will report to the EEOC on how it handles any future complaints of disability discrimination and will also post a notice regarding the settlement.

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, “We commend M&R Consulting for working with us to resolve this lawsuit expeditiously and for agreeing to provide appropriate monetary relief to the applicant and meaningful policy changes designed to prevent disability discrimination.”

“The EEOC is committed to preventing and remedying disability discrimination. We appreciate M&R Consulting’s willingness to work with us to resolve this matter amicably,” said Jamie R. Williamson, district director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). Addressing emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA, is another SEP priority.

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

Pa. Contractor Dinged Over Fatal Electrocution

Construction companies, take note: There’s a price to be paid for exposing your workers to electrocution hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Insight Pipe Contracting LLC for workplace safety and health violations following an employee electrocution at a worksite in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Harmony-based contractor faces $331,101 in proposed penalties.

OSHA initiated a safety investigation after an employee suffered a fatal electrocution. Two employees who attempted to assist him were hospitalized after receiving electrical shock. The employees were making a trenchless sewer repair when the incident occurred. OSHA conducted a subsequent health investigation upon referral from the OSHA safety compliance officer who investigated the fatality. OSHA cited the company for failing to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry; train employees on confined space hazards; conduct atmospheric testing before permitting entry into a sewer line; use a retrieval line; and complete proper permits. The Agency placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry,” said OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office Director Christopher Robinson. “Complying with OSHA safety and health standards is not optional. Employers are required to take necessary precautions to prevent tragedies such as this.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. View the citations here and here.

$50K Settlement in Suit Over Medical Leave

This employer decided to throw in the towel rather than fight the federal government in court over its refusal to extend short–term an employee’s unpaid medical leave.

Kessinger Hunter Management, Inc. (KHMI), a national commercial property management company with its primary corporate offices in Kansas City, Mo., will pay $50,000 to a former employee, change its policies, and provide training to employees to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charged that KHMI violated federal law when it refused to extend employee Richard Shipe’s unpaid 30-day leave of absence by one week to allow him to recover from surgery. Shipe requested the short extension of leave as a reasonable accommodation to comply with his doctor’s orders, but KHMI denied his request because it would violate its 30-day maximum medical leave policy. When Shipe was unable to return to work after 30 days, the company fired him, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit in September 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (EEOC v. Kessinger Hunter Management Co., Inc., Case No. 4:17-cv-809-HFS) seeking relief for Shipe and injunctive remedies to prevent future violations of the ADA, which protects employees from discrimination based on disability and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to known disabilities.

In addition to requiring the payment to Shipe, the consent decree settling the suit, entered today by Senior Judge Howard F. Sachs, enjoins KHMI from terminating employees because of disability and from failing to make a reasonable accommodation to known physical or mental limitations of applicants or employees in the future. The decree also requires KHMI to provide additional training to its director of human resources and change its policies to comply with the ADA, ensuring that no accommodation request from an employee is denied without KHMI engaging in an interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation. It also enables the EEOC to monitor KHMI’s compliance with the decree and requires the company to submit periodic reports to the agency.

“Maximum leave policies that do not allow flexibility for reasonable accommodation of employees with disabilities rob workers of the opportunity to earn a living and support themselves and their families,” Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for EEOC’s St. Louis District, said. “We are happy that KHMI will work to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities going forward, benefiting both workers and the company.”

James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, added, “With this resolution, we trust that KHMI’s employees will not have difficulty being accommodated in the future, especially when requesting a short extension to medical leave.”

The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a portion of southern Illinois. The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

Bad Menu: Men Barred From Server Jobs at So. Calif. Burger Restaurant, EEOC Charges in Suit

The federal government has a legal beef against this restaurant that refused to hire men.

Burgers & Beer, a chain of Southern California restaurants, violated federal law when it denied males with the same employment opportunities as their female counterparts, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in lawsuit filed August 30.

The EEOC contends that since at least 2015, male applicants and employees were disqualified from server positions based on sex. The company routinely rejected male applicants for those positions and maintained a server workforce that was over 90 percent female, the EEOC charged.

Such action violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Case No. 3:18-cv-02014-DMS-NLS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prohibit Burgers & Beer from engaging in future unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the victims.

“We encourage employers to examine their hiring practices to ensure their decisions comply with federal law,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County.

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego’s Local Office, added, “Denying someone the chance to compete for a job simply because of their gender violates federal law – even if the employer presumes customers would prefer to be surrounded by female servers. Presumed preferences are no excuse for any kind of discrimination. The EEOC will continue to pursue the eradication of this type of unlawful behavior.”

According to its website, www.burgersandbeer.com, the company has six casual dining locations, specializing in high-quality burgers, throughout California’s Imperial Valley.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, gender, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

Md. Cracker Barrel in ADA Tussle With EEOC Over Its Refusal to Hire Qualified Deaf Applicant

The federal government is going to bat for a deaf man who applied for a dishwasher job at a popular country food store.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. violated federal law when it refused to hire a qualified deaf applicant for a dishwasher position because of his deafness, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced August 29.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Cracker Barrel scheduled the applicant for an interview with a store manager for a dishwasher job at its Linthicum Heights, Md., store on about June 16, 2016. The applicant went to the scheduled interview but was told by a different store manager that the designated manager was not there. The EEOC says that the store manager was visibly uncomfortable interacting with the applicant, who tried to communicate with her through written notes; the manager did not write notes back but simply mouthed, “she’s not here.”

The EEOC charges that the manager refused to interview the applicant, even though Cracker Barrel’s policy is that job interviews are to be conducted by any manager available. In July 2016, Cracker Barrel hired three dishwashers who were not deaf to work at its Linthicum Heights store. The EEOC argues that Cracker Barrel failed to hire the applicant because he is deaf.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02674-PX) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“We filed this lawsuit because Cracker Barrel refused to interview or hire a qualified applicant simply because he is deaf.” Said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “That is cruel and against federal law.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “Hiring decisions should be made based on qualifications, not on fears about or prejudices against people with disabilities. The EEOC will file suit, when necessary, to protect workers from disability discrimination.”

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

According to its website, www.crackerbarrel.com, Cracker Barrel and its affiliates operate 653 company-owned Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations in 45 states and own the fast-casual Holler and Dash® restaurants.

Staffing Agency Sued Under ADA By EEOC

This employer didn’t go far enough to accommodate an employee with reading comprehension difficulty, according to federal civil rights law enforcers.

Adecco USA, Inc. (Adecco), a staffing agency, violated federal law by refusing to offer a candidate employment at a production facility based on his actual and perceived disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on August 29.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in April 2016, a worker with learning and other mental disabilities visited Adecco’s office in Corry, Pennsylvania, to apply for a food packaging and distribution position with an Adecco customer. The lawsuit further states that when the worker was told he would have to take an employment test, he informed Adecco officials of his difficulty with reading comprehension. The applicant requested that the test be read to him for purposes of test administration, which Adecco initially declined, causing him to fail the test. The lawsuit alleges that Adecco subsequently agreed to retest the disabled worker by reading the test to him and he passed. EEOC charges that an Adecco official then told the disabled worker that he was “too slow” for the production job and instead offered to place the worker in a car-washing job while other applicants were offered the job that the disabled worker sought. EEOC charges that Adecco violated the disabled worker’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to hire him for the type of work he desired because of actual and perceived disability.

Such alleged conduct violates the ADA, which prohibits discrimination based on actual and perceived disabilities. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Adecco USA, Inc., Civil Action No.1:18-cv-00250-AJS) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Erie Division, after first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Individuals with disabilities continue to face needless, discriminatory obstacles to full participation in the American workplace,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The ADA requires that employers and staffing agencies refrain from excluding individuals with disabilities from job opportunities on the basis of their disabilities, whether such exclusions are based on bigotry, stereotypes, myths and unwarranted fears, or unintended barriers to employment of disabled workers.”

Pittsburgh Area Office Director Roosevelt Bryant said, “Securing the right of persons with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of society is the ADA’s highest purpose. The EEOC is committed to vindicating the right of all individuals with disabilities to participate in the workforce on an equal footing with their nondisabled peers in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”

The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC’s Pittsburgh Area Office, one of four component offices of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office. The Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

EEOC: Charter Communications Liable for ADA Violation Against Worker With Night Blindness

This employer’s alleged refusal to accommodate a seeing-impaired employee who requested a change in shift has gotten it in trouble with federal civil rights law enforcers.

Charter Communications, LLC, which bought Time Warner Cable, violated federal law when it refused to provide an ongoing accommodation for an employee with a disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 29

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an employee who could not drive at night due to cataracts and night blindness, and who worked a shift ending at 9:00 p.m., asked to be moved to an earlier shift. Charter granted the request, but only for about a month. The employee requested an extension, but Charter refused to grant it. After the accommodation expired, Charter, without consulting with the employee about needing further accommodation, moved him back to the shift ending at 9:00 p.m.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (EEOC v. Charter Communications, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-1333 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit asks the court to order Charter to pay damages, including punitive damages. The lawsuit also seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Charter from discriminating against its employees based on disability in the future and requiring the company to communicate with employees with disabilities who request accommodations to find appropriate ones for them.

“The ADA requires employers to accommodate disabled employees who are qualified to do their jobs,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District. “The only exceptions are when the accommodation would create a safety threat to the employee or others or pose an undue hardship to the employer. The EEOC will prove in court that none of those exceptions applied here and that Charter should have continued to accommodate its employee.”

Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “The ADA requires employers to consult with disabled employees who request help to find a reasonable way to accommodate them so they can do their jobs. The EEOC found during its investigation that Charter only granted a one-month shift change without consulting the employee about his needs. Charter did not meet its obligations under the law, and the EEOC is here to fight for the rights of such employees.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District is responsible for investigating charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis