Posts Tagged ‘Title VII lawsuit’

Suit Against Auto Dealer Ends With $150K Settlement For Female Ex-Assistant Manager

Here’s another Florida car dealership that allegedly ran afoul of employment discrimination laws in its treatment of women.

AutoNation-owned dealership, Abraham Chevrolet-Miami, Inc., which does business in Coral Gables, Fla. under the name “AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables,” will pay $150,000.00 to its former assistant parts manager to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced August 22.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Jacqueline de la Torre worked her way up from a clerical position to assistant parts manager – a title she held for approximately 10 years. When the parts manager position became vacant, AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables didn’t allow her to apply and, instead, hired a less qualified male and required de la Torre to train him. When she complained, upper management acknowledged she was the most qualified candidate, but told her the position “needed a man.”

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s sex. The EEOC filed suit against AutoNation (Case No.1:17-cv-23550-RNS) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, the general managers of two AutoNation-owned dealerships in the Miami business market must deliver live executive messages to their workforces regarding the importance of equal employment opportunity and diversity, including sex diversity in hiring and promotion and to ensure equal opportunity employer language is included on all job postings for their Parts and Service Department management positions. The decree also requires annual training for those general managers as well as management and employees in the dealerships’ Parts and Service Departments for three years covering sex-neutral and non-discriminatory recruiting, interviewing, and hiring and training on how to avoid stereotypes, including sex-based and gender-role stereotypes, among other topics. AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables will report annually to EEOC on applicants for management positions in its Parts and Service Department and on its hiring decisions. Both dealerships will post notices for the duration of the decree reminding employees of their rights enforced by the EEOC.

“Employers in traditionally male-dominated professions must make the workplace safe for all employees to compete for promotions on a fair and level playing field, without regard to gender,” said EEOC’s Miami District Office Regional Attorney, Robert E. Weisberg. “We believe this resolution will help dispel misguided unlawful gender based stereotypes.”

Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “The EEOC will continue to vigorously investigate allegations of gender discrimination to ensure women in professions that may have once been perceived as traditionally male will be treated equally in consideration for hire and promotion.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa and San Juan EEOC offices, and has jurisdiction over Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

EEOC: Fla. Merchandiser Allowed Race Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

The only thing fanatical about this workplace apparently was the racial venom directed at some its employees.

Fanatics Retail Group, Inc. violated federal law by subjecting employees to racial discrimination, harassment and retaliatory failure to promote, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on July 24. Jacksonville-based Fanatics is a leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, including NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR merchandise.

The EEOC’s suit charged that Fanatics’ Jacksonville workplace was racially divided, and that the company subjected employees to racial slurs and comments such as “We don’t need any outbreak monkeys here.” When an employee complained about the treatment, he was told that he would never be promoted.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-900-J-32PDB) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“The use of racial slurs in the workplace and retaliating against an employee for complaining is abhorrent,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg. “When such abuse occurs, the EEOC will vigorously seek to correct the bad practices and secure an appropriate remedy for the victim.”

EEOC District Director Michael Farrell added, “This type of outrageous discrimination has no place in the workplace. We hope that our lawsuit will send a message, not only to the defendant, but to the entire manufacturing and retail industry, that the EEOC will not tolerate this kind of misconduct – or retaliation for complaining about it.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa and San Juan EEOC offices, and has jurisdiction over Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Cargo Handler Trips Over Unpaid Leave Forced on Pregnant Driver at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

You can’t deny light-duty assignment to a pregnant worker when your policy is to give such assignments to other employees temporary restricted in what work they can do.

Simplicity Ground Services, P.C., an airline-ramp and cargo-handling company in Detroit, violated federal law by forcing an employee onto unpaid leave because of her pregnancy, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Raylynn Bishop was employed as a tow team driver for Simplicity Ground Services, a company responsible for transferring baggage on and off commercial flights at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport. As a tow team driver, her job primarily consisted of driving a vehicle, and her job description contained no lifting requirement. The EEOC alleged that upon learning that Bishop was pregnant and had a 20-pound lifting restriction, Simplicity informed her she must go on unpaid leave and attempted to make her sign an amended job description which added a 70-pound lifting requirement. Simplicity also forced other pregnant employees to take unpaid leave because they were pregnant and refused to accommodate their pregnancy-related lifting restrictions with light-duty work. Non-pregnant employees with similar restrictions, however, were routinely granted light duty.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:18-cv-10989 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Bishop and the other pregnant employees, as well as injunctive relief designed to end the discriminatory practice for the future.

“The EEOC’s investigation showed that pregnant employees were repeatedly treated as ineligible for light-duty assignments, a benefit that was otherwise a possible solution for temporary work restrictions,” said Kenneth Bird, regional attorney for the Indianapolis District Office. “This case presents an opportunity to remind employers that they cannot exclude pregnant workers from a benefit available to others with similar work limitations, unless there is a legitimate, non-discriminatory justification for doing so.”

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

Wyo. Agency Liable for Sexual Harassment

Note to public sector employers: The U.S. Justice Department has you in its sights when it comes to sexual harassment.

The Justice Department announced last Friday that on March 21, 2018, a federal district court in Casper, Wyoming, found that the Wyoming Military Department (WMD) discriminated against former employee Amanda Dykes by subjecting her to sexual harassment and constructively discharging her.  The verdict was returned after a July 2017 bench trial during which the Justice Department produced evidence that the defendant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.

The evidence produced at trial showed that Dykes was subjected to sexual harassment by her direct supervisor, former employee Don Smith, when both worked at WMD’s Wyoming Youth Challenge Program.  Smith subjected Dykes to persistent, unwelcomed conduct including poems, songs, and emails professing his affection and love for her as well as constant visits to her office.  These intensified to such a degree that Dykes asked her subordinates to help her avoid being left alone with her supervisor.

Dykes reported the supervisor’s conduct to her employer’s human resources department as well as to his direct supervisor, but received no assistance in remedying the harassment.  The court found that harassing behavior persisted for over 18 months despite Dykes’ numerous complaints, that no reasonable employee could be expected to remain in her job under these circumstances, and that Dykes had no choice but to resign her position in September 2011 to avoid the continued harassment.

The district court ordered WMD to pay $221,030.62 to Dykes for the salary and benefits she lost as a result of her constructive discharge.

This judgment represents the first successful sexual harassment trial verdict obtained in a Title VII case since the launch of the Civil Rights Division’s Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative (SHWI), which focuses on workplace sexual harassment in the public sector.

As part of the Initiative, the Justice Department will continue to bring sex discrimination claims against state and local government employers with a renewed emphasis on sexual harassment charges.  The Department will also work to develop effective remedial measures that can be used to hold public sector employers accountable where Title VII violations have been found, including identifying changes to existing employer practices and policies that will result in safe work environments.  More information about the Civil Rights’ Division’s Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative can be found here.

“The Justice Department vigorously enforces Title VII to ensure that people can work free from sexual harassment and retaliation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore  of the Civil Rights Division.  “The verdict sends the clear message that this Justice Department will continue to effectively combat sex-based discrimination whenever it occurs in a public sector workplace.”

Dykes originally filed her sexual harassment charge against the WMD with the Denver Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigated and determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination had occurred and referred the matters to the Department of Justice.

More information about Title VII and other federal employment laws is available at the division’s Employment Litigation Section website.  The continued enforcement of Title VII is a priority of the Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is available on the division website.

N.M. Dealership Settles 3-Pronged EEOC Suit

To hear the federal government tell it, a car dealership in New Mexico was rife with animus based on its worker’s race, national origin and religion.

Now the dealership has agreed to clean up its act in settlement of a lawsuit.

Reliable Inc., doing business as Reliable Nissan, along with other entities involved in operating the Albuquerque car dealership, has agreed to settle charges of discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion, along with retaliation, that were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced last Wednesday.

The agreement follows conciliation between the EEOC and Reliable Nissan over claims that two Reliable Nissan Managers repeatedly used the “N-word” during a sales meeting, and referred to African, African-American, Native American, Muslim and Hispanic employees in a derogatory manner. Employees alleged that managers made offensive jokes about Muslim and Native American employees’ religious practices and traditions, and used racial epithets like “n—-r,” “drunken Indians,” “red.” and “redskins.” Racially offensive pictures targeted against minority employees were also posted in the workplace.

The EEOC investigated the charges and found that the racial slurs and innuendos created a hostile work environment for minority employees, and that Reliable Nissan failed to take prompt and remedial action to stop the harassment. The EEOC’s investigation further revealed that employees who complained were retaliated against.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees because of their race, national origin or religion. Title VII also protects employees who complain about discrimination from retaliation.

As part of the conciliation agreement, Reliable Nissan agreed to pay a total of $205,000 to three emp­loyees who filed discrimination charges with the EEOC and 11 other minority employees who were subjected to the hostile work environment. The company also agreed to provide annual training for two years for its emp­loyees, including managers and human resources employees. Additionally, Reliable Nissan agreed to re­view its policies and procedures to ensure that employees have a mechanism for reporting discrimination and to make certain that each complaint will be appropriately investigated.

“It is important for all employees to feel safe and free to come forward with reports of harassment,” said EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Derick Newton. “As soon as an employer becomes aware of any kind of harassment because of race, national origin, or religion, the employer must act promptly and appropriately.”

EEOC Phoenix Office District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “It is illegal for employees to be subjected to such degrading comments and innuendos based on their race, national origin and religion. The EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for such offensive and discriminatory conduct.”

Union’s Firing of African American Organizers Was Title VII Violation, EEOC Alleges in New Suit

Unions also sometimes violate employment discrimination laws.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday filed suit against a Texas union engaged in organizing school employees.

According to the lawsuit, the union fired two African-American organizers because of their race in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the EEOC charged.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, on May 9, 2014, Local 100 of United Labor Unions hired Maurice Roberts and Rosalind Holt to recruit public school employees for the union. A white male organizer was also hired at the same time. On May 27 of that year, Roberts and Holt were discharged, allegedly for failure to meet the minimum goal of recruiting five new union members within the first two weeks of hire, the EEOC’s complaint charges. However, the white organizer, who was hired around the same time they were, failed to recruit any new members, but was not terminated. The EEOC asserts that the reasons given by the union to discharge Roberts and Holt, but not the white organizer, were a pretext for race discrimination.

“This action sends the message that the EEOC will continue to prosecute employers, including unions, who subject their employees to adverse treatment because of their race,” said Rayford O. Irvin, director of the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “Union employers must make concerted efforts to prevent race discrimination in their labor organizations.”

Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston and New Orleans offices, said, “No one should be subjected to race discrimination. The EEOC will aggressively seek redress for anyone fired because of his or her race.”

Local 100, United Labor Unions is a labor organization which recruits members from public and private school employees in Houston and other cities in the United States.

EEOC Settles Contempt Action Against Club

An adult entertainment club in Jackson, Mississippi treated its female employees badly and apparently snubbed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC announced today that it has settled a contempt action against Baby O’s Restaurant, dba Danny’s Downtown, a Jackson-based provider of adult entertainment services. The contempt action charged that Danny’s breached the terms of an agreement it entered into with the EEOC to resolve a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Danny’s subjected four African-American females to unlawful race discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC charged that black entertainers were subjected to a variety of less advantageous terms and conditions of employment than white ones. The misconduct included subjecting African-American entertainers to arbitrary fees and fines, forcing them to work on less lucrative shifts, and excluding them from company advertisements, all because of their race. The EEOC also charged that Danny’s retaliated against the entertainers by reducing their work hours when one of them engaged in activity protected by law, including filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The EEOC alleged the retaliation was so severe that one of the entertainers was forced to leave her employment.