Posts Tagged ‘Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’

Moving Co. Hit With Racial Harassment Suit

This company isn’t a hospitable place for black employees, according to this lawsuit.

Arizona Discount Movers of Phoenix violated federal law by subjecting an African-American employee to racial harassment and forcing him to quit to escape the abuse, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed June 25.

In its suit, the EEOC charges that a supervisor at Arizona Discount Movers frequently made comments such as “white power,” “if you’re not white, you’re not right” and used the N-word to refer to employee Clinton Lee. The supervisor also told Lee to get out of a room because they were having a Klan meeting. At one point, a troll doll was painted black, a Post-it was affixed to the troll doll, which read “Clint Lee,” and the doll was hung in the middle of the facility. The EEOC says that despite Lee’s complaint about the troll doll, the company failed to take adequate action. This misconduct created an unlawfully hostile work environment for Lee, forcing him to resign to escape further mistreatment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, including racial harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (EEOC v. Arizona Discount Movers, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-01966-HRH) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

The lawsuit asks the court to order Arizona Discount Movers to provide Lee appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further racially discriminatory practices. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that will eradicate and prevent racial harassment there in the future.

“Racial harassment is never acceptable in any workplace,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “The conduct that Clinton Lee suffered here is deeply disturbing and violates federal law. We are particularly concerned that he was subjected to language and conduct by his supervisors that attempts to assert white superiority over African-Americans. Employers and supervisors have a legal duty to create a safe workplace environment for their employees.”

EEOC District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, “The language and images that were aimed at Mr. Lee were crude, cruel and something no one should have to endure today. The EEOC is here to fight such malicious mistreatment of American employees.”

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Bad Wheels: EEOC Recovers $59K For Female Truck Driver Who Quit Over Ongoing Harassment

This company’s nonchalance toward the harassment of a female employee by her co-workers ended up costing it money.

A North Dakota civil construction company operating in Minot, N.D., will pay $59,000 to settle a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday. The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Keller Paving and Landscaping, Inc., violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a hostile work environment based on her sex and to work conditions that were so intolerable she was forced to resign.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Jennifer Gerard worked for Keller from June to October 2013 as a truck driver. During Gerard’s employment, she was subjected to sexual harassment by several male coworkers. The harassment included the coworkers telling her she did not belong at the worksite but should be at home in the kitchen taking care of her children. One male coworker asked her to perform oral sex on him, the EEOC said. On one occasion, a male coworker touched her shoulder and her leg. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Gerard complained to the company’s owners and site manager, but the harassment continued. The work conditions were so intolerable that Gerard was finally forced to quit her job.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Keller Paving and Landscaping, Inc.; Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-00092 DLH/CSM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hoveland signed the order entering the consent decree on June 4, 2018. The decree provides for $59,000 in monetary relief to Gerard. It also requires Keller to revise its policies in its employee handbook to outline a complaint procedure for complaining about sexual harassment.

The decree also requires the company to train its management personnel on Title VII, including its prohibitions against sexual harassment. Further, the decree requires Keller to train its non-management employees on their rights under Title VII, including their right to file discrimination charges with the EEOC. Finally, the company must report complaints of sexual harassment to the EEOC during the decree’s two-year term.

“Too many women in non-traditional jobs are forced to endure this sort of abuse simply because of their gender,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “We are pleased with this settlement, which will monitor the company’s practices on sexual harassment, and the EEOC will continue to combat this kind of misconduct anywhere and everywhere we find it.”

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “Maddeningly, women continue to face sexual harassment at their jobs, and employers must recognize the importance of acting promptly to address complaints about this inexcusable behavior. The EEOC remains committed to eliminating harassment and discrimination from the American workplace.”

The EEOC was represented in the case by Senior Trial Attorney Tina Burnside in the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office.

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Rocky Mountain High: $2.66M Awarded in Equal Pay Lawsuit Against Denver Univ. Law School

The sound you hear reverberating on this law school campus is are the cheers of female faculty members who will finally catch up with their male counterparts earning more money then them.

The University of Denver will pay $2.66 million and furnish other relief to settle a pay discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced May 17.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that the university violated federal law by paying a class of female full professors at the Sturm College of Law lower salaries than it paid to their male counterparts who were performing substantially equal work under similar working conditions.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, as of October 2013, salaries of female full professors were on average, $19,781 less than those of male full professors, and all the women’s salaries were below the average salary paid to men. Despite formally recognizing the significant pay disparity in a 2013 memo, the university declined to take corrective action by adjusting salaries of female full professors.

Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, which both prohibit discrimination in compensation based on sex. The EEOC filed its lawsuit, EEOC et al. v. University of Denver, Case No. 1:16-cv-02471-WYD-MJW, in 2016 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“The favorable resolution of this case is a clear example of the EEOC’s commitment to fully enforcing our federal laws against pay discrimination.  I hope cases like these get the attention of all employers and lead them to not only review their pay practices, but take action to address discrimination when they find it.” said EEOC Acting Chair, Victoria A. Lipnic.

In addition to $2.66 million in monetary damages to seven female full professors who participated in the lawsuit, the consent decree settling the suit also requires the University of Denver to increase the 2018 salaries of the seven female professors; annually publish salary and compensation information to tenure, tenure-track, and contract faculty; and employ a labor economist to conduct an annual compensa­tion equity study.

The university will also work with an independent consultant to review methods and criteria used to determine pay and compensation, and these standards used to determine raises each year will be announced to the faculty in advance of the academic year. The independent consultant will also assist the university to revise its anti-discrimination policies and to conduct an informational campaign and training on those anti-discrimination policies. The decree will remain in effect for six years, but may end a year early based on an established record of compliance. While the decree is in effect, the independent consul­tant will provide regular progress and compliance reports to both the EEOC and the University of Denver. The court approved the settlement and will retain jurisdiction while the decree is in effect.

“The Equal Pay Act and Title VII are clear that pay discrimination based on a person’s sex is a violation of federal law – no exceptions,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “As we just recently marked Equal Pay Day, the EEOC remains committed to elimination of pay discrimination in the workplace.”

Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, “This resolution is an excellent result, not only for the seven women who will receive compensation and salary increases to address past pay inequities, but also for other faculty members who will benefit from increased pay transparency and an annual pay equity study targeted at preventing similar inequities from arising in the future.”

The University of Denver is a private research university in Denver made up of 13 undergraduate and graduate schools and colleges.

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Skirting the Law: EEOC Says Attire Rule Imposed on Muslim Women Workers Was Title VII Violation

Be careful when telling employees how they have to dress for work that you take into account possible religious objections to such a requirement.

Aviation Port Services, LLC, a Sumner, Wash.-based nationwide provider of support services to airlines, violated federal law when it fired several employees because of their requests for religious accommodations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed Nay 7.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Aviation Port Services fired six Muslim female employees from its Boston location after it refused to allow them to continue wearing long skirts at work. Throughout their employment there, all the women worked as passenger service agents and wore long skirts in accordance with their religious beliefs. In late 2016, however, the company told these women that they would no longer be allowed to wear long skirts while working. Instead, the company said the women would have to start wearing either company-provided pants or knee-length skirts, or their employment would be terminated. After requesting a religious accommodation and objecting to this mandate, all the women were fired by Aviation Port Services in January 2017 for failing to comply with this uniform policy.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion, which includes the requirement to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s sincerely held religious practices, as long as doing so does not impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. Title VII also prohibits retaliation against employees for asking for an accommodation. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Boston Division, (EEOC v. Aviation Port Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-10909) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Katie Linehan and supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.

“Employers have an affirmative obligation under federal law to make reasonable modifications to company policies, such as dress codes, to accommodate their employees’ religious practices,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “Despite this obligation, Aviation Port Services simply refused to allow these women to continue working in attire consistent with their religious beliefs.”

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry added, “Federal law is clear: employers cannot refuse to provide a religious accommodation barring an undue hardship, and employees have a right to oppose discriminatory practices without fear of losing their jobs.”

The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

$50K Settlement in EEOC Pregnancy Bias Case Against California Dietary Supplement Company

This employer appeared to be somewhat clueless about the right of women to keep working after they become pregnant.

Tarr, Inc. and Zenith, LLC, a San Diego-based company that sells dietary supplements, will pay $50,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a female employee who worked at Tarr, Inc. in San Diego informed the company of her pregnancy and was terminated a few days later. The EEOC also contends that the company refused to return another pregnant employee to return to work after taking maternity leave.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Tarr, Inc. and Zenith, LLC, Case No.: 3:17-cv-01660-W-WVG) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. (Tarr, Inc. later merged into Zenith, LLC.)

As part of the consent decree settling the suit, Tarr and Zenith will pay $50,000 to the discrimination victims. Because Tarr and Zenith allege they no longer operate, the consent decree is enforceable against the companies’ owners, officers and/or directors, and that any future business endeavors by these individuals will be subject to the decree if created during the duration of the decree. The injunctive relief, includes, but is not limited to, training all its employees on anti-discrimination laws; revising its anti-discrimination and retaliation policies and procedures; centrally tracking requests for pregnancy-related accommodations as well as complaints of discrimination and/or retaliation; hiring a third-party equal employment opportunity monitor; regularly reporting to the EEOC; and posting a notice about the consent decree and settlement.

“Too often employers wrongly perceive pregnancy and motherhood as incompatible with work, which places women at a great disadvantage,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes San Diego County in its jurisdiction. “Employers should be cognizant of their obligations under Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to maintain a workplace free of discrimination.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office, added, “There is still a strong bias against mothers in the workplace, and we encourage women who feel discriminated against due to pregnancy to come forward and let the EEOC help defend your rights.”

$100K Settlement Ends EEOC Case Against Car Dealership That Fired Gay Worker With Disability

This dealership in the future will probably be more respectful toward gay employees who also have disabilities.

Chicago car dealership Evergreen Kia will pay $100,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual orientation and disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Evergreen Kia harassed a car salesperson for suffering from Crohn’s disease and for being gay. The EEOC alleged that the dealership’s owner subjected the employee to a continuing course of unwelcome and offensive conduct which became so intolerable that the employee was forced to quit.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disability Act of 1991 (ADA). Title VII prohibits discrimination because of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), and the ADA prohibits disability discrimination. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v Evergreen Motors, dba Evergreen Kia, Case No. 17-cv-07084) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Oct. 2, 2017, after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by U.S. District Judge Blakey on April 26, 2018, prohibits future discrimination and retaliation in the future, requires an outside monitor to investigate complaints of sex or disability discrimination or harassment, and provides that Evergreen Kia will pay $100,000 to the aggrieved individual. Evergreen Kia must also post notices of the settlement, revise its anti-discrimination and record-keeping policies, report complaints of sex or disability discrimination periodically to the EEOC, and train its managers regarding their obligations under the law.

“We thank Evergreen Kia for its commitment to settle this case before the parties incurred significant costs and for its willingness to modify its policies, provide training to its employees, and to have an outside monitor investigate complaints of discrimination,” said EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney Gregory M. Gochanour.

Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s District Director for the Chicago District Office, added, “The EEOC will continue to enforce the federal laws so that all gay and disabled employees have the same opportunities as everyone else to work in environments free from harassment.”

EEOC Says Waste Co. Wouldn’t Hire Woman

Women have as much right as men to equal treatment when they apply for a job, no matter the industry.

American Pride Waste Solutions, Inc., a Bluffton, S.C., waste collection company, violated federal law by discriminating against a qualified female job applicant because of her sex, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, American Pride rejected the woman’s truck driver application in favor of less-qualified male applicants.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. American Pride Waste Solutions, Civil Action No. 9:18-cv-912-DCN-JDA) in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina 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 the discrimination victim, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

“Federal law clearly requires employers to give equal opportunity to all applicants for positions, regardless of the applicant’s sex,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “That goes for all jobs — truck drivers, computer programmers, police officers and CEOs. No exceptions.”

Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “Denying people equal employment opportunity because of gender has been against federal law for more than 50 years. It’s distressing that some employers still try to get away with such misconduct, but the EEOC will keep combating it.”