Posts Tagged ‘age discrimination’

$220,000 Settlement Wraps Up EEOC Harassment, Age Lawsuit Versus Phoenix Eatery

The service at this Arizona restaurant wasn’t so fine regarding its older women employees.

Phoenix restaurant Francisco Fine Foods LLC, doing business as Mariscos Altata, agreed to pay $220,000 and furnish other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Sept. 21. The EEOC charged the restaurant with severe sexual harassment, age discrimination, and retaliation against a group of women.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, female employees of Mariscos Altata were subjected to sexual harassment including unwanted touching, grabbing, fondling, sexual comments, requests for sex, and other unlawful conduct since at least February 2011. The lawsuit additionally charged that Mariscos Altata subjected an employee to harassment based on her age, including comments that she was a “worthless old lady” and coworkers ridiculing her by taking bets on her age. Mariscos Altata also retaliated against women who refused to comply with sexual demands, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination and retaliation, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against employees over the age of 40. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Francisco’s Fine Foods, LLC d/b/a Mariscos Altata, Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-00945- JJT in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit sought back pay and compensatory and punitive damages as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discrimination in the future.

Under the four-and-a-half-year consent decree settling the lawsuit, which was signed by federal District Court Judge John J. Tuchi today, Mariscos Altata is ordered to revise its employment policies in consultation with an outside consultant. The company must also establish a robust system for employees to report harassment, discrimination, and retaliation; post an anti-discrimination notice; evaluate managers based on their compliance with EEO laws; and train its managers and employees on the law and Marisco Altata’s policies against discrimination. The restaurant also agreed to terminate the alleged harasser and never rehire him. Mariscos Altata will also send letters of apology to all of the women affected by the harassment and retaliation.

“Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be an epidemic in many workplaces, including restaurants,” said the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office regional attorney, Mary Jo O’Neill. “It is clearly unacceptable and illegal misconduct. No employee should ever be subjected to such degrading and abusive behavior in order to make a living to support herself and her family. Employers who fail to protect vulnerable employees from predatory abuse should know that the EEOC will step in to stop it.”

Elizabeth Cadle, district director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “Employees who stand up for themselves should never fear adverse employment actions as a result. Unfortunately, over 45 percent of charges to the EEOC involve allegations of retaliation – the most common type of discrimination charge. Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from sexual harassment and retaliation.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and parts of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).

EEOC: NY Staffing Co. Violated Multiple Laws

The fix is allegedly in at this staffing agency against black applicants, persons with disabilities, and persons over age 50.

Staffing Solutions of WNY Inc., a Buffalo-based staffing company that places employees with clients throughout Western New York, violated federal laws prohibiting hiring discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on May 17.

According to the complaint, EEOC contends that Staffing Solutions either refused to hire highly qualified Black applicants or placed them in the lowest paying, least desirable jobs.  Further, EEOC alleges that Staffing Solutions’ owner, Kathleen Faulhaber, regularly referred to Black applicants as “n—-rs,” instructed her staff to comply with clients’ race and sex preferences, placed employees in positions based on race and sex, and rejected pregnant applicants.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that applicants over the age of 50, applicants with disabilities, and those whom the company deemed disabled were routinely rejected by Staffing Solutions. EEOC contends that applicants were improperly asked for their dates of birth and about injuries and medical conditions, and that Staffing Solutions rejected applicants considered too old and those who revealed health issues, such as cancer, blindness, or back injuries.

Finally, EEOC charges that an office manager for Staffing Solutions complained about the illegal hiring practices and voiced objections to Faulhaber’s repeated use of racial slurs, but was warned that she would be fired if she failed to comply.  The office manager felt she had no choice but to resign.

Staffing Solutions’ alleged hiring practices violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act which prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, disability, race, or sex, as well as retaliation.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York (EEOC v. Staffing Solutions of WNY, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00562) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay; compensatory, liquidated, and punitive damages; and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorneys Daniel Seltzer, Elizabeth Fox-Solomon, and Supervisory Trial Attorney Nora Curtin.

“Staffing Solutions’ conduct hearkens back to a time over half a century ago, before the passage of federal laws that make this type of discriminatory hiring illegal,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for EEOC’s New York District Office. “The EEOC is sending a clear message with this lawsuit: those days are over.”

Kevin Berry, the EEOC’s New York district director, added “Staffing companies are playing an increasingly large role in our economy. The EEOC will fight to ensure that they do not become an instrument of discrimination. The law is clear that honoring discriminatory client requests is illegal.”

“I’m proud to have been born and raised in Buffalo,” said Curtin. “Buffalonians, and all Americans, deserve to be hired based on their qualifications, without regard to age, disability, race or sex.”

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, and preserving access to the legal system by eliminating retaliation are national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Buffalo Local Office conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

EEOC Hits School District Over Retaliation

Employers can’t exact retribution on employees who file employment discrimination claims. That truism may have eluded this Michigan school system.

The Waterford Public School System, a school district located in Waterford, Mich., violated federal law when it failed to recall a tenured teacher back to work in retaliation for his having filed a charge alleging age discrimination, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it filed Thursday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a former history and social studies teacher was subjected to a layoff. Because the teacher believed he was laid off because of his age, he filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Since then, the school district has recalled other teachers to work full time and hired a full-time social studies teacher, but has not recalled this teacher to his former position.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). After attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. Waterford Public School System, Case No. 2:18-cv-11015). The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for the employee and an injunction prohibiting the school district from engaging in retaliation in the future.

“Employees who oppose discriminatory practices have the right to do so without incurring harm to their careers and their livelihood,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Kenneth Bird.

The EEOC’s Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

Staffing Firm Out $50K in ADEA Settlement

Few employers are apparently as dumb as this one when it comes to putting out its age bias for all to see.

Diverse Lynx, LLC, a Princeton, New Jersey-based IT staffing firm with offices in Princeton and Noida, India, will pay $50,000 and will undertake significant remedial measures to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC alleged that Diverse Lynx violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when, after learning an applicant’s date of birth, the company sent the applicant an email stating that he would no longer be considered for the position because he was “born in 1945” and “age will matter.” The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age, including discrimination in referrals by employment agencies.

Under the consent decree entered by the Court, Diverse Lynx is prohibited from considering an applicant’s age when deciding whether to refer them to a job opening. In addition, Diverse Lynx may not request or solicit an applicant’s year of birth before referring the applicant to a prospective employer. Diverse Lynx has agreed that it will provide its employees, including its managers and supervisors, with live training that addresses federal anti-discrimination laws, and complaint and reporting procedures. Diverse Lynx also agrees that it will not retaliate against persons who complain of discriminatory conduct or practices.

“A basic principle of anti-discrimination law requires that job applicants be judged on their individual qualifications. Employers and employment agencies that consider an applicant’s protected trait, such as age, violate federal law and will be prosecuted,” said EEOC senior trial attorney Rosemary DiSavino.

Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, added, “This case should send a clear message that federal anti-discrimination laws apply to employment agencies as well as employers. An employment agency’s refusal to refer a qualified applicant because of the applicant’s age is a plain violation of the ADEA.”

The New York District Office oversees New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and most of New Jersey.

Tooth Ache: Dentist’s Office Fired Long-Time Worker Because She Turned 65, EEOC Alleges

Karen Ruerat gave over three decades of her working life to a Michigan dental surgery practice, and what did she get for her troubles?

A pink slip just days after she turned 65, says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Professional Endodontics, P.C., a dental surgery practice based in Southfield, Mich., with three locations, violated federal law by firing an employee because of her age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, Karen Ruerat had been employed as a receptionist for Professional Endodontics for over 37 years when she was fired four days after her 65th birthday due to a company policy that mandated retirement at age 65.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:17-cv-13466 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Professional Endodontics from discriminating against other employees based on age, monetary relief including back pay and liquidated damages, and other affirmative relief for Ruerat.

“Terminating an employee because he or she turns 65 is illegal,” said Miles Uhlar, trial attorney for the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office. “The EEOC is pursuing this matter because federal law provides specific protection to members of our workforce, like Ms. Ruerat, who are age 40 or above.”

EEOC Outs Parking Mgmt. Co. For Rejecting Applicant Because of “Physicality of Job”

Stereotypes about age and gender were factors in the decision by a Georgia parking management company to reject a 60-year-old female applicant for a valet job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, on or about Jan. 12, 2016, 60-year-old Valencia Hayden applied for a valet position with Eagle Parking. During her interview, the operations manager looked at Hayden’s application and told her that she would not be successful as a valet because of the “physicality of the job.”  Instead, the operations manager told Hayden that she would be perfect for a customer service position and told Hayden to come back the following week to attend orientation. The day before she was scheduled to begin her new positon, Hayden called to ask what time she should report. However, the operations manager told Hayden that the job had already been filled. Eagle Parking’s records show that, after Hayden was interviewed, it hired several male valets and customer service employees who were substantially younger than Hayden.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Eagle Parking, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-2904-TWT-CMS) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, compensa­tory damages, punitive damages and liquidated damages for Hayden, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

“This suit sends a strong message to employers that applicants must be judged strictly on their ability to perform the job, and not on stereotypes associated with their gender and age,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “What is most disturbing about this case is that the hiring official automatically assumed that Ms. Hayden was not qualified to work as a valet or customer service parking manager because of her age and the fact that she is a woman. Such managerial behavior is not legal or acceptable in the 21st century.”

Phoenix Restaurant Rife With Harassment, Ageism Against Women, Alleges the EEOC

Families in Arizona shouldn’t let their wives, sisters or daughters work at Phoenix restaurant Mariscos Altata. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the business is a hotbed of mistreatment of women.

The commission charged in a lawsuit filed last week that the female employees of Mariscos Altata were subjected to unwanted touching, grabbing, fondling, sexual comments, requests for sex and other unlawful conduct since at least February 2011.

According to the EEOC, one female was subjected to harassment based on her age, including comments that she was a “worthless old lady” and coworkers taking bets on her age. The lawsuit further alleges that Mariscos Altata fired the women when they refused to comply with the sexual demands they endured.

“Employees must be able to go to work in an environment where they are not constantly subjected to abusive behavior,” said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The agency takes this behavior extremely seriously, and is taking steps to make sure that employers know that restaurants need to be a safe place for women to work.”

Read more about this lawsuit filed on March 30.