Posts Tagged ‘EEOC lawsuit’

Same-Sex Harassment Alleged at Senior Center

Employees who work with patients have enough to worry about without having to worry that their supervisors will make unwanted sexual advances.

Olympia, Wash.-based Koelsch Senior Communities, LLC, which provides assisted living and other care facilities for seniors, violated federal law by allowing a female supervisor to sexually harass a female employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Friday, September 28.

The EEOC’s investigation found that from very early on, employee Rebecca Flores was made uncomfortable by the conduct of her female supervisor at The Hampton at Salmon Creek, a Koelsch assisted care facility in Vancouver, Wash. This included comments about Flores’s clothing and appear­ance; a request to be friends on Facebook; repeatedly asking for foot massages; and discussions of the supervisor’s interest in extramarital affairs and sexual bondage.

In particular, Flores was disturbed by an incident where her supervisor stood close behind her and expressed a desire to rub her buttocks. When Flores reported the unwelcome behavior to upper management, Koelsch failed to investigate properly and quickly sided with the supervisor, which emboldened the woman to continue harassing Flores with sexually charged comments and unwanted touching.

Workplace sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (EEOC v. Koelsch Senior Commu­nities, LLC, Case No. 3:18-cv-05792) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory damages for Flores and injunctive relief, which typically includes training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the worksite, and compli­ance reporting.

“Whether committed by a female or male against someone who is the same sex or opposite sex, the law is very clear–employers must take action to stop and prevent sexual harassment,” said EEOC Seattle Field Director Nancy Sienko. She noted that sexual harassment prevention is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission’s 2017-21 Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Carmen Flores (no relation to Rebecca Flores) added, “As we know all too well in the #MeToo era, employers who fail to investigate harassment allegations or make ex­cuses for ‘high-value’ workers accused of harassment do so at their own peril. Employers who want to avoid such pitfalls should consult the checklists for employers compiled by the EEOC’s Select Task Force on Workplace Harassment.”

According to its website, http://koelschseniorcommunities.com, Koelsch operates senior care facilities at 34 locations in Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Illinois.

EEOC Knocks Trucking Co. Over Job Screening

This employer allegedly relied too slavishly on a third party’s assessment of assessment of whether job candidates could do the job, rather than make its own evaluation.

Trucking firm JBS Carriers, based in Greeley, Colo., violated federal law by using pre-employment screening procedures that improperly screen out truck driving job applicants on the basis of disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Friday, Sept 28.

EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that JBS Carriers contracts with a third-party, ErgoMed Work Systems, Inc., to administer pre-employment screening of applicants for truck driving jobs, which process, as administered and used, unlawfully screened out individuals with disabilities who were qualified for the truck driving jobs they sought. Cindy Divine applied to JBS Carriers to work as a truck driver. JBS Carriers required her to travel from her home in Lake Elsinore, Calif. to Greeley to complete the ErgoMed screening. But, after making the trip, ErgoMed concluded that Divine had issues with her shoulders. Although Ms. Divine told ErgoMed she did not have shoulder problems and was merely sore from carrying heavy luggage from the bus stop to her motel, ErgoMed prevented her from completing the physical abilities testing that was required by JBS Carriers. ErgoMed recommended that JBS Carriers should not hire Ms. Divine, and JBS Carriers accepted that recommendation. In its suit, (EEOC v. JBS Carriers, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02498-RPM), the EEOC alleges that JBS Carriers unlawfully denied truck driving jobs to applicants because of their disabilities, by subjecting applicants to a medical and physical screening process which excludes applicants with disabilities.

As it did with Ms. Divine, JBS Carriers relied on and uniformly accepted ErgoMed’s recommendations regarding job applicants. By requiring and relying on ErgoMed’s screening without giving individual consideration to job applicants, the EEOC alleges JBS Carriers discriminated against its job applicants based on disability. The EEOC also alleges that JBS Carriers failed to provide reasonable accommodations to these applicants and discriminated against applicants who it regarded as disabled.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the pre-employment screening required by JBS Carriers and administered by ErgoMed violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1991, as amended, which prohibits employment discrimination based on disability, including the perception of a disability, and makes it illegal for employers to impose standards or criteria for job applicants that have the effect of discriminating based on disability. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

The EEOC’s lawsuit asks the court to order JBS Carriers to provide Cindy Divine and other aggrieved individuals appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from continuing to use the screening procedures provided by ErgoMed and from engaging in any further discriminatory practices based on job applicants’ disabilities, including the perception of a disability. The EEOC also asks the court to order JBS Carriers to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent disability discrimination in the workplace.

“A job candidate should be evaluated based on his or her ability to do the job, not based on the ability to pass an arbitrary medical exam or onerous physical testing that is not related to the actual job requirements,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “This arrangement operates to outsource disability discrimination. The EEOC will continue to be vigilant of these types of contracting arrangements.”

EEOC District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, “Employers unnecessarily restrict the pool of eligible candidates when these kinds of medical screens are used. If a candidate is qualified and able to do the job, that candidate should be given every opportunity to compete for the job.”

JBS Carriers is the transportation affiliate of multinational meat processor JBS USA. JBS Carriers is based in Greeley and operates throughout the United States, with terminals in Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, and Georgia.

Clothing Store Fired Woman After She Revealed Pregnancy, EEOC Alleges in a Title VII Lawsuit

Somewhere over the rainbow this employer used an employee’s pregnancy against her.

Rainbow USA Inc., a specialty apparel chain, violated federal law when it terminated a manager upon becoming aware of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit on September 28.

The EEOC contends that the charging party, who was employed as a junior assistant manager, was in her first trimester of pregnancy when she was fired just days after the company learned of her pregnancy-related restrictions. Initially, the company suspended the junior assistant manager indefinitely, then two days after the suspension, she was effectively terminated.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits an employer from “discriminat[ing] against any individual with respect to…compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s sex.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) amended Title VII to include discrimination based on pregnancy.

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (EEOC v. Rainbow USA, Inc. Case No: 2:18-cv-09007) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, along with compensatory and punitive damages from the employer.

“This lawsuit reminds employers that Title VII protects the rights of pregnant workers to be free from discrimination in the workplace” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District.

Alexandra Navarre-Davis, trial attorney, added “the EEOC will continue to work tirelessly toward its mission of eradicating discrimination in the workplace.” The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at http://www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

Dollar Store Liable for ADA Violation, EEOC Says

The discount retailer seemingly went out of its way to find excuses for not hiring an applicant with a disability. Federal civil rights enforces aren’t buying its explanations.

Family Dollar Stores of Michigan, LLC, a Michigan-based discount retailer which has discount stores throughout the state, violated federal law by failing to employ a man because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed in a lawsuit filed on September 28.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Family Dollar refused to employ a man who suffers from left-sided paralysis and wears a brace on his left arm. The man applied for a position at a Family Dollar store in Detroit. After being interviewed, he was offered the position but was told that he could not start work until a few weeks later. However, he was never placed on the schedule and never actually worked for the company, despite his efforts to pursue a start date, the EEOC said. During this same time, the company continued to hire other non-disabled individuals to work as customer service representatives at the same store. Family Dollar claimed that budget constraints played a part in its refusal to hire the man.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. Family Dollar Stores of Michigan, LLC, Case No. 4:18-cv-13030). The EEOC is seeking monetary relief for the applicant and an injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in this type of conduct in the future.

“There is no excuse for disability discrimination, and that includes Family Dollar’s excuse that it had budget constraints – especially given that it continued to hire customer service representatives,” explained EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell.

Family Dollar of Michigan, LLC is a subsidiary of Family Dollar Stores, Inc., which is a national retailer with headquarters in a suburb of Charlotte, N.C. It operates approximately 7,000 stores throughout the United States.

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

Va. Companies Sued by EEOC for ADA Violation

Reaching back into the 2018 archives, here’s an ADA lawsuit against two Virginia companies over their treatment of an employee who suffered from cancer.

ChenMed, LLC and PMR of Virginia Holding, LLC are Delaware Corporations doing business in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk. ChenMed, LLC and PMR of Virginia Holding, LLC, violated federal law when they terminated one of their employees for her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed September 28.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, ChenMed, LLC and PRM of Virginia Holding, LLC Trudy Jelderks as a Market Sales Manager (MSM) on or about August 7, 2013 and was assigned the Tidewater, Virginia market. In June 2014 Jelderks was also assigned the Richmond, Virginia market. In June 2014 Jelderks submitted her resignation of employment. On July 3, 2014 the companies offered her a contract for the period of July 1, 2014 through February 1, 2015 which she accepted. Jelderks was the only MSM to have an employment contract. On August 21, 2014, Jelderks informed her employers that she had colon cancer. Shortly after that on August 29, 2014 they removed the Richmond, Virginia market from her area of responsibilities. In October 2014 Jelderks was hospitalized due to her disability for a period of five (5) days. While hospitalized ChenMed’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) called her on the phone to pressure her into voluntarily giving up her MSM duties, which she refused. In November 2014 the companies announced a change to the MSM structure. Jelderks complained to the Human Resource Office about the CMO’s treatment of her while she was hospitalized. On December 3, 2014 Jelderks spoke with the CMO and Chief Administrative & Operations Officer (CAOO) on the phone. Jelderks informed the CMO that it was illegal to call her when she was hospitalized. On January 7, 2015 ChenMed, LLC and PRM of Virginia Holding, LLC terminated her employment.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with a disability unless doing so would be an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division (EEOC v. ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC, Civil Action No. _2:18-cv-00516-RBS-DEM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

“Businesses have an obligation to accommodate employees with a disability so that they can retain their employment,” said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Employers need to be careful as to not retaliate against their employees thinking they are unable to uphold to their responsibilities because of their disability.”

EEOC: Male Line Lead Harassed Female Temp

Temporary employees are as entitled to workplaces free of sexual harassment as are permanent workers.

Premier Employee Solutions LLC (Premier), an Arizona company that provides temporary labor to a variety of industries, violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed September 28.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Sarah Isley began working for Premier around January 2016. She was assigned as a temporary employee at the Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc. facility in Whitsett, N.C. From February 2016 to around April of that year, a male line lead employed by Premier subjected Isley to sexual harassment on a daily or near daily basis. The sexual conduct involved comments, sexual gestures and physical touching, including, on one occasion, the line lead grabbing Isley’s breasts. Isley complained to Premier about the sexual harassment, but the harassment continued.

This alleged behavior violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from allowing a sexually hostile work environment to exist in the workplace. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Premier Employee Solutions LLC, Case No. 1:18-cv-00823) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief, including compensatory and punitive damages for Isley, as well as injunctive relief.

“Sexual harassment is always unacceptable and unlawful in any workplace,” said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Employers must take appropriate action to stop employees from harassing other employees.”

Trucking Cos. Accused by EEOC of ADA Violation Against Driver Applicant Who Is Deaf

Trucking companies can’t refuse to hire someone to drive their trucks simply because the person can’t hear.

Drivers Management, LLC and Werner Enterprises, Inc., truckload carriers headquartered in Omaha, Neb., violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they refused to hire an applicant as a truck driver because he is deaf, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed September 28.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Drivers Management and Werner told Victor Robinson that because he was deaf, they could not hire him as a truck driver, even though he had graduated from truck driving school, received his commercial driver license, and obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) an exemption from the hearing regulation for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

In addition to these claims, the EEOC asserts that Drivers Management and Werner refused to hire Robinson because he needed a reasonable accommodation.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska (EEOC v. Drivers Management, LLC and Werner Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 8:18-cv-00462-JMG-SMB, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay as well as compensatory and punitive damages for Robinson in addition to injunctive relief designed to prevent and address future discrimination based on disability and to otherwise bring the company into compliance with federal law.

“This is the second lawsuit we’ve filed this year against Werner to seek relief for a qualified deaf applicant who the company refused to hire simply because he was deaf,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District. “Employers must realize they cannot deny employment to qualified applicants based on unfounded, negative stereotypes about deaf workers.”

James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, added, “It is unlawful to refuse to hire deaf applicants because they are deaf and to ignore their need for effective reasonable accommodations. As we’ve said before, just because someone is deaf doesn’t mean he or she cannot safely drive a truck.”

According to its website, Werner maintains offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Australia and is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States. Its wholly owned subsidiary company, Drivers Management, employs, trains, and manages drivers.

The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a portion of southern Illinois.