Archive for May, 2016

Trucking Company to Pay $3.1M to Women Blocked From Jobs by Same-Sex Training Policy

Two years after a federal court found it liable, a trucking company has agreed to compensate female applicants who were denied job opportunities because the company required that they be trained by women only.

In 2014, a U.S district court in Indiana ruled that New Prime Trucking Inc. violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination when it denied employment opportunities to women through its same-sex trainer policy.

Under the settlement announced today, the company will pay $3.1 million and offer jobs to the lead plaintiff and 63 other women victimized by this discriminatory policy.

Based in Springfield, Mo., 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.

WalMart Will Offer Job to Any Returning Honorably Discharged Veteran for One Year

Last Memorial Day I wrote about Wal Mart’s pledge to hire 100,000 returning veterans by 2018–a fitting tribute to those men and women who have put their lives in harm’s way to protect all o

Fast forward to today, Memorial Day 2016, and we learn that the retailer has upped the ante: It has announced that it offer to any honorably discharged veteran a job within his or her first 12 months off from active duty.

“Every veteran may not want a job in retail, but if they do, they have a place at Walmart,” said Walmart CEO and President Bill Simon.

Veterans looking for work through this opportunity should go to

$194K OSHA Fine Assessed Against Ohio Gun Shop for Dangerous Lead Exposure Levels

Employees in gun shops are entitled to safe working conditions just like the rest of us.

So when federal and state investigators concluded that a gun shop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was exposing its workers to unsafe lead levels, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sprung into action to assess fines.

OSHA announced last week that it had placed Pro Armament Company LLC in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after the company failed to correct serious violations identified in a November 2014 inspection. The agency issued two failure to abate and six serious safety and health violations to the company, which faces total proposed penalties of $194,400.

OSHA’s November 2015 follow-up inspection found that Pro Armament:

  • Overexposed workers to lead.
  • Did not monitor workers’ exposure to lead.
  • Failed to train workers on respiratory and lead hazards.
  • Failed to provide protective clothing such as shoe covers.
  • Did not provide clean changing rooms or require employees to shower at the end of a work shift to prevent lead contamination.
  • Lacked housekeeping procedures to remove lead from surfaces such as cash registers and tables.

Fired Ambulance Technician to Recover $55K in Settlement of Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Another employer has learned the hard way that refusing to accommodate a pregnant worker will hit it in the pocket book.

The employer in the EEOC’s crosshairs this time is First Call Ambulance Service, LLC, a Nashville-based company that provides non-emergency medical transport and ambulance services throughout Tennessee, Ohio and Virginia.

The EEOC charged in a Title VII lawsuit against the company that after a female technician informed First Call of her pregnancy and presented a doctor’s note that restricted her from lifting patients greater than 200 pounds without assistance, the company refused to accommodate her. First Call removed the employee from the work schedule, told her she could not work because of her pregnancy and forced her to take unpaid leave.

At the same time, First Call allowed non-pregnant employees to use a power cot to lift patients. EEOC charged that the company maintained an unlawful policy of refusing to accommodate female employ­ees with lifting restrictions due to pregnancy, while providing comparable accommodations to non-pregnant employees.

EEOC said First Call agreed to pay $55,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the settlement.

DOJ, Lubbock Texas Settle Title VII Suit Over Hiring Practices for Probationary Police Jobs

The City of Lubbock, Texas, decided it was better to settle rather than fight a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit over its hiring practices for probationary officer jobs in the city’s police department.

According to the lawsuit, the city engaged in a “pattern or practice” of employment discrimination against Hispanic and female applicants for those jobs.

Under the settlement, eligible Hispanic and female applicants who were denied employment after taking allegedly discriminatory employment tests will each receive $725,000.

Lubbock also agreed to develop a new written test and a new physical fitness test for selecting probationary police officers and provide hiring relief with retroactive seniority to 11 qualified Hispanic applicants and 13 qualified female applicants who were disqualified by the challenged employment tests.

Read more about the settlement announced today.

Poultry Giant Hit With DOL Suit For Discrimination in Hiring Under Federal Contracts

The U.S. Department of Labor has a squawk with poultry giant Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. over its hiring practices under contracts it has with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies.

The company has systematically discriminated against female, African American and white jobseekers at its Mount Pleasant, Texas, processing facility, according to a complaint filed by DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with the Office of Administrative Law Judges.

In its compliance review, OFCCP found that – from July 2005 to July 2007 – Pilgrim’s Pride discriminated against African American and white applicants for semi-skilled jobs, and against female and white applicants for unskilled jobs at the processing facility.

In addition to its findings regarding hiring discrimination, OFCCP also found that the Mount Pleasant facility did not:

  • Keep and preserve required personnel and employment records.
  • Properly conduct required analyses of whether its employment practices had an adverse impact on women or minority groups.
  • Show that the lifting requirements established for various positions were job-related and consistent with business necessity.

The company holds more than $75 million in federal contracts with the agriculture department and the other agencies.

Here’s today’s DOL announcement of the complaint.

Fired HIV-Positive Employees Recover $110K in ADA Settlement With Kentucky Printing Company

Take a lesson from this case: Firing an employee because he/she is HIV-positive is a sure ticket to having to pay big bucks in either a settlement or a lawsuit.

Zoo Printing, confronted with allegations that it fired two HIV-positive employees, has chosen to take the settlement route.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on May 19 that the Louisville, Ky. based company has agreed to pay $110,000 for alleged ADA violations against to employees whom it alleged fired because they were HIV-positive. The employees had worked at the company’s Louisville, Ky. facility.

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.

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the settlement.


DOL Allies With Universities’ Nonprofit to Foster Inclusive Workforce for Persons With Disabilities

The U.S. Labor Department is partnering with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities to make workplaces more accepting of persons with disabilities.

The announcement on Wednesday by the Office of Disability Employment Policy teams the federal government with the AUCD, described as a nonprofit membership organization that brings together university-based interdisciplinary programs and community resources to achieve meaningful change for people with disabilities in all aspects of society, including the workplace.

ODEP started the alliance initiative in 2006. Since then, the agency has engaged organizations to collaborate in developing and implementing model policies and initiatives that increase the recruitment, hiring, retention and career advancement of employees with disabilities. The new alliance will provide AUCD members with information, technical assistance and access to ODEP resources that will help them create workplaces that fully use the talents of employees with disabilities.

In addition to AUCD, ODEP has alliances with the Society for Human Resource Management, U.S. Business Leadership Network, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and Families and Work Institute.

EEOC: ADA Violated When Offer Withdrawn to Applicant Who Couldn’t Give Urine Sample

A trucking company’s alleged refusal to allow an applicant to undergo drug screening due to his disability has landed it in federal court opposite the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit announced on Friday, the EEOC said it was suing on behalf of an applicant for a job with Covenant Transport, Inc., a trucking company headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to the EEOC, the applicant applied for employment as a commercial driver. Covenant conditionally approved his application pending a license check and drug screening. The applicant told Covenant’s representative he was unable to provide a urine sample due to a medical condition–bladder exstrophy–but could provide blood for the drug screening. Exstrophy of the bladder is a congenital absence of a portion of the abdominal wall and bladder wall.

Covenant initially agreed to the blood screening and later decided not to hire the applicant because of his medical condition and the fact that he could not provide a valid urine specimen. Covenant withdrew the offer of conditional employment. EEOC’s suit also claims the company knew the applicant could not provide a valid urine specimen due to his medical condition and refused to provide him the opportunity to undergo drug screening because of his disability.

The moral of the story: If an applicant can’t complete a drug screening one way, the employer should see if there isn’t another way to accomplish the same ends.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

Va. Attorney General: LGBT Bias Likely Violation Of State Laws Prohibiting Sex Discrimination

If you discriminate against a Virginia resident because he or she is gay, a lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you’re likely violating state laws that ban discrimination, according to an opinion by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.

In his May 10 opinion, Herring said that the Virginia Human Rights Act (the “VHRA”) and Virginia’s other anti-discrimination statutes most likely prohibit discriminatory conduct against LGBT Virginians when that conduct is based on sex-stereotyping or on treating them less favorably because of their sex.

That conclusion is particularly well-founded with respect to the VHRA, the scope of which includes all discriminatory conduct prohibited under federal law, where the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and more and more courts are holding that LGBT discrimination is a type of sex discrimination.

Nonetheless, says Herring, while a strong argument could be made that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation is always sex discrimination within the meaning of Virginia’s anti-discrimination statutes, the Supreme Court of Virginia has not considered and resolved that question.

And before you shrug your shoulders and say ho hum–this is the new normal–remember that Virginia was a leader in the “massive resistance” movement to block desegregation of public schools in the 1950s and 1960s.