Posts Tagged ‘settlement of EEOC lawsuit’

Employer Accused of Misusing Medical Info in Hiring Process Agrees to Settle ADA Lawsuit

“Handle information on employees’ medical conditions with care.”

Those words should be etched on the walls of every HR department in the company. Otherwise, you’re apt to be slapped with an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit, forcing you either to litigate your violation of the law or settle for a hefty sum.

Chemtrusion, Inc., a Houston-based manufacturing services company, will pay $145,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced on July 21.

The EEOC filed suit against Chemtrusion in October 2016, claiming that since 2012, the company refused to hire or provide reasonable accommodations to a class of job applicants at the company’s Jeffersonville, Ind., facility because of medical information it obtained during pre-employ­ment medical examinations. The company failed to conduct any individual­ized assessment of whether they could perform essential job functions, the EEOC charged.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division (EEOC v. Chemtrusion, Inc., Case No. 4:16-cv-00180) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The EEOC and Chemtrusion voluntarily negotiated the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, without any admission of wrongdoing or liability by Chemtrusion.

In addition to monetary relief, the decree requires that Chemtrusion: (1) instruct its hiring personnel and medical providers not to conduct medical inquiries until after a condit­ional offer is made; (2) conduct individualized analysis before withdrawing job offers; (3) train its hiring personnel on what the ADA requires with respect to medical examinations and hiring; (4) submit deci­sions to rescind job offers to legal counsel for review; and (5) track rescinded offers. The EEOC will monitor compli­ance with the two-year decree.

“All the corrective measures required by the consent decree will ensure that Chemtrusion will comply with federal disability discrimination law in filling vacancies in the future,” said Kenneth L. Bird, regional attorney for EEOC’s Indianapolis District. “It will also provide a strong reminder to other employers that applicants are entitled to an individualized assessment of whether they can do a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, before a company may rescind a job offer after a medical examination.”

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

Health Center That Ordered Male Technician’s Firing Settles Title VII Lawsuit Filed by EEOC

The other legal shoe has dropped in a gender discrimination lawsuit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed on behalf of a man who was fired from his job as an ultrasound because of his gender.

The EEOC announced settlement on Thursday of this lawsuit against Nevada Health Centers, which agreed to pay $35,000 to close the litigation.

According to the EEOC’s suit, from 2010 to 2013, Nevada Health Centers and Ultracare Las Vegas had a service contract whereby the placement agency Ultracare provided Nevada Health with ultra­sound technicians. In November 2012, Ultracare hired David Matlock as an ultrasound technician and placed him at Nevada Health. Within weeks of his placement, Nevada Health asked Ultracare to remove Mr. Matlock solely because of his gender. Ultracare complied with Nevada Health’s request and terminated Matlock’s employment at Nevada Health in the first week of January 2013.

The EEOC filed suit in June 2016, charging that Nevada Health and Ultracare terminated David Matlock because of his gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [EEOC v. Nevada Health Centers, Inc, Ultracare Las Vegas, Case No. 2:16-cv-01495-JAD-PAL]. Ultracare entered into a settlement agreement with the EEOC for $15,000, which was approved by the Court on March 20. The court approved the consent decree as to the remaining defendant, Nevada Health Centers, on July 6.

In addition to monetary relief, Nevada Health will implement injunctive relief focused on ensuring equal employment opportunities for its employees, regardless of gender. The company agreed to review and revise its anti-discrimination policy to ensure it prohibits discrimination and contains a process for prompt handling of discrimination complaints. Nevada Health also agreed train its manage­ment on the importance of non-discrimination in the recruitment and hiring of its employees, and further agreed to report any gender discrimination complaints and provide reports on its recruitment and hiring practices. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the two-and-a-half-year decree.

“Outdated stereotypes in the health care industry cannot be used to categorically exclude emp­loyees from certain jobs based on gender,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes Las Vegas in its jurisdiction.

Christine Park-Gonzalez, acting local director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office, added, “Employers have an obligation to comply with the prohibition on sex discrimination in federal law and should examine their practices to ensure that gender bias is not impacting employment decisions.”

According to its website, www.nevadahealthcenters.org, Nevada Health Centers is a non-profit organization that provides 15 health center locations and mobile service providers throughout Nevada.

Good Dough: $50K Settlement Closes EEOC National Origin Lawsuit Against NY Pizzerias

It’s a safe bet that conditions will improve for Hispanic employees at two mid-state pizzerias in New York.

A small group of pizzeria restaurants based in Wappinger Falls and Fishkill in Dutchess County, N.Y., will pay $50,000 and provide other relief to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on Thursday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Antonella’s Restaurant & Pizzeria, Inc., JTA, Inc., and Dellicap, LLC, doing business as Grand Centro Grill (collectively Antonella’s) discriminated against Hispanic employees by subjecting them to name calling, slurs, and creating and maintaining a hostile work environment because of their national origin. Antonella’s also unlawfully demanded that the workers speak only English in the workplace without a business reason for this requirement, the EEOC said.

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas on June 22, 2017, provides that Antonella’s will pay $50,000 for the discrimination victims. Also, the decree provides for extensive safeguards to prevent future discrimination by implementing anti-discrimination policies, training and problem-solving procedures.

“We are pleased that because of this settlement, Antonella’s will institute policies that were previously missing and may assist in preventing future discrimination,” EEOC Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein said.

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry added, “This case exemplifies the EEOC’s commit­ment to enforcing our laws when employers discriminate against any employees, including especially vulnerable, low-wage workers in a restaurant kitchen.”

Eliminating discriminatory policies affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws or reluctant or unable to exercise them is one of six national priorities identified by the agency’s Strategic Enforcement Plan. These policies can include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and trafficking.

$30K Settlement Closes EEOC’s Religious Bias Suit for Rastafarian Employee at Orlando Resort

Grooming standards sometimes have to give weigh to religious accommodation in order to avoid violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Latest case in point: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday that an Orlando staffing company dedicated to Central Florida’s massive hospitality industry will pay $30,000 and implement a company-wide accommodation policy to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit

The EEOC’s lawsuit filed last July charged that HospitalityStaff violated religious discrimination law by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to Courtnay B. Joseph, a Rastafarian, when it required him to cut his dreadlocks to comply with its client’s grooming standards in order to keep his position at an Orlando-area hotel. The EEOC said that HospitalityStaff took Joseph off his assignment and never reassigned him.

Rastafarians wear dreadlocks as part of their sincerely held religious belief, and making an employment decision because of such a religious practice violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under the decree, which was agreed to soon after EEOC filed its lawsuit, HospitalityStaff agreed to pay Joseph $30,000 in damages. The company will also amend its employee handbook and policy manual to include a clear policy providing for reasonable accommodations covering both disability and religious-based requests. Further, HospitalityStaff agreed to provide training to its managers and human resources personnel, and to voluntarily provide information to EEOC concerning its handling of religious discrimination complaints for three years.

“HospitalityStaff’s decision to provide training and to implement policy changes relating to reasonable accommodations should be commended,” said Kimberly A. Cruz, supervisory trial attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “These policy changes demonstrate the company’s commitment to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees with sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“The Supreme Court’s opinion in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch reminds us that we must be vigilant in protecting sincere religious expression in the workplace,” said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office. This is particularly important where the Commission has recognized ‘the increasing complexity of employment relationships and structures, including temporary workers, staffing agencies, and independent contractor relationships’ in an ever more on-demand economy.”

$106K Settlement Concludes ADA Suit Alleging Medical Exam Cost Applicant Permanent Job

It took more than a year to wrap up, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this week obtained recompense for a job applicant who was denied a permanent job with an Oklahoma company allegedly on the basis of a questionable use of information obtained during preemployment medical exam.

The EEOC filed this Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit in February 2016 against UPCO Claremore, an Okla.-based manufacturer of sucker rods and accessories for the oil and gas industry,

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Lydia Summers began working as a temporary receptionist and assisting in the accounting department. After five months, UPCO made Summers a conditional offer of full-time, permanent employment, conditioned on Summers passing a pre-employment medical exam conducted by a third-party vendor. Following the exam, the vendor’s physician, who never examined or questioned Summers, refused to approve her for employment with UPCO because of the supposed side effects of her prescription medications. Even after Summers provided UPCO with a letter from her personal physician stating that she was not impaired by her medications, UPCO rescinded its job offer, the EEOC alleged.

The EEOC announced yesterday that UPCO has settled the lawsuit for $106,000.

To learn more about what’s allowed in preemployment examinations under the ADA, click here.

$1.9M Settlement in EEOC Suit Charging Chicago Restaurant With Not Hiring African Americans

“Rosebud” was the last word spoken by the lead character in Citizen Kane, in reference to his beloved sled from his boyhood. But Rosebud means something else for African Americans in and around Chicago, as a business that won’t hire them.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that Rosebud Restaurants, Inc. will pay $1.9 million and furnish other relief to settle a class race discrimination lawsuit filed by the commission.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, 13 Italian restaurants operated by Rosebud in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs refused to hire African-Americans because of their race. The EEOC also charged that managers, including Rosebud owner Alex Dana, used racial slurs to refer to blacks.  At the time EEOC began investigating Rosebud’s hiring practices, many of its restaurants had no African-American employees at all.

The EEOC also asserted that Rosebud violated federal regulations by failing to maintain employment applications for one year and by failing to file employer information reports providing employment data by job category, race, ethnicity, and gender.

Race discrimination in hiring violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit against Rosebud on Sept. 17, 2013 (case number 13-cv-6656) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its concili­ation process. The suit resulted from a charge of discrimination filed by former EEOC Commissioner Constance Barker.

The consent decree settling the suit, approved by Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland, calls for Rosebud to pay $1.9 million to African-American applicants who were denied jobs.  Additionally, Rosebud has agreed to hiring goals for qualified black applicants, with the aim that 11% of Rosebud’s future workforce be African-American.  In addition, the decree enjoins Rosebud from engaging in race discrimination or retaliation in the future. It also requires Rosebud to recruit African-American applicants, train employees and managers about race discrimination and retaliation, provide periodic reports to EEOC on compliance with the decree’s terms for four years, and post notices informing employees of the decree’s terms.

The restaurants covered by the suit include The Rosebud; Carmine’s; Rosebud on Rush; Rosebud Prime; Mama’s Boy; Rosebud Steakhouse; Rosebud Deerfield; Rosebud in Naperville; and the closed restaurants Rosebud Old World Italian; Rosebud Theatre District; Rosebud of Highland Park; Rosebud Burger & Comfort Foods; Rosebud Trattoria; Joe Fish; EATT; Bar Umbriago; and Centro.

EEOC Chicago District Director Julie Bowman said that she was pleased with the cooperation between EEOC and Rosebud in resolving the suit.

“Although it has been several years since the EEOC filed suit, the case was resolved after a lengthy negotiation process that occurred before any depositions were taken in the case and without significant pre-trial motions, sparing both sides from incurring substantial litigation expenses,” said Bowman.

EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted, “African-Americans have faced and still face barriers in being hired at upscale restaurants, especially in visible, and often well-paid, positions such  as server. That is why the recruiting and hiring relief in this decree is so important. It will lead directly to qualified blacks being hired for front- and back-of-the-house positions, helping to remedy past discrimination by Rosebud and ensuring equal employment opportunities for future African-American applicants.”

$20,000 Settlement Closes Books on EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit Against Tex-Mex Eatery

At the cost of $20,000 a Georgia restaurant can put behind it a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Last November, the EEOC charged that El Chaparro, Inc., a Tex-Mex restaurant in Covington, Ga., violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when one of its owners sexually harassed four female servers at its Greensboro, Ga., restaurant location in 2013 and 2014.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, El Chaparro’s general manager and co-owner showed the four servers pictures and videos containing sexual images, talked about the servers’ sex lives, and showed the servers shirtless photos of himself on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. The servers complained about the sexual harassment to the restaurant’s other owner, but the company failed to take any action to stop the harassment, the EEOC said. The Greensboro restaurant location is now closed and the four women no longer work for El Chaparro.

For five years the restaurant will be under the court’s supervision as it implements the terms of the settlement, which include providing annual equal employment opportunity training to its owners, managers and employees. The five-year decree further requires the company to post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit and to provide periodic reporting to EEOC about sexual harassment complaints.

Read more about the settlement announced on May 8 here.