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

$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.”

EEOC Sues Employer for Not Allowing Jewish Applicant to Delay Job Until After Rosh Hashanah

An employer has to be meshugena (Yiddish for crazy) to deny an employee time off to observe the Jewish High Holidays. It’s only one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar.

To defend this action under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the employer has to show that giving the employee time off would be an undue hardship for it.

That’s what a Maryland-based company is up against in having to respond to a lawsuit filed against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf a Jewish applicant who refused to start his new job until after Rosh Hashanah.

The EEOC filed this religious discrimination lawsuit against XPO Last Mile, a logistics company that specializes in the delivery of items such as office furniture, home furnishings and fitness equipment on behalf of Tzvi McCloud .

McCloud had applied for a dispatcher/customer service position at the company’s Elkridge, Md., office. According to the suit, when the operations manager called McCloud and told him to report to work on Oct. 3, 2016, McCloud advised that he could not start on that date because he celebrated the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, on that date. The operations manager replied that he thought it would be acceptable for McCloud to start on Oct. 4. Later that evening, however, the market vice president called and told McCloud he must report to work on Oct. 3. The EEOC said the market vice president told McCloud that the company only honored federal holidays, and that if he gave McCloud a religious accommodation, he would have to extend them to other employees.

McCloud did not report to work on Oct. 3 due to his mandatory religious observance. When he reported to work on Oct. 4, he was sent home. The EEOC said XPO Last Mile violated federal law when it revoked its offer of employment because McCloud was unable to work on Rosh Hashanah.

“Federal law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to work schedules or rules that will allow an applicant or employee to practice his or her religion unless it would be an undue hardship,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. “Unfortunately, XPO Last Mile’s intransigent refusal to provide a religious accommodation cost them the services of a hard worker and led to this lawsuit.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “The freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs is one of our nation’s fundamental values. Mr. McCloud simply asked if he could start work one day later than scheduled so he could observe Rosh Hashanah, one of the Jewish High Holy Days. A one-day postponement of a start date is not an undue hardship.”

For a primer on the do’s and don’ts of religious discrimination under Title VII, click this page on EEOC’s web site.

Company Settles Sex Bias Suit Arising From CEO’s Invitation to Female Applicant to “Party”

It was a dumb move by the CEO of an educational services company to ask a job applicant out on a date and then decline to hire her when she declined his invitation.

But it was a wise move in light of those allegations to settle the sex discrimination lawsuit that ensued.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on May 8 that the company headed by the CEO, Special Education Associates, Inc., which provides educational services to students with developmental and learning disabilities in New York City, will pay $57,000 and furnish other relief to resolve the commission’s lawsuit.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, the company’s chief executive officer asked a job applicant out on a date and suggested that she “party” with him right after he offered her a job at the company. After the applicant declined and said that she hoped that “we can move forward in a strictly professional manner,” the company declined to hire her. Instead, the CEO conducted additional interviews and hired a male candidate, the EEOC said.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hiring based on sex and likewise forbids retaliating against individuals who object to such discrimination. Sex discrimination includes denying an individual an employment opportunity or a benefit of employment because he or she rejected an unwelcome sexual advance.

“The EEOC appreciates this company’s willingness to resolve this case without protracted litigation,” said Jeffrey Burstein, the EEOC’s regional attorney for the New York District Office. “The agency remains committed to enforcing federal law to ensure that women do not face discriminatory barriers to full and equal participation in the workforce.”

Under the consent decree settling the suit, the company will pay the job applicant $57,000 in lost wages and damages and will adopt new anti-discrimination policies and procedures. The decree bars the company in the future from conditioning job opportunities, promotions, compensation, or other terms of employment on an individual’s willingness to meet individually with the company’s chief executive officer outside of the workplace. The decree also requires annual, live, in-person training on anti-discrim­ination laws for all employees, including the CEO.

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry said, “There is nothing ambiguous about the laws against sexual harassment. Employers cannot condition hiring or promotion on an employee’s willingness to go out on a date.”

$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.

$65K Settlement in ADA, Title VII Suit Charging Bias in Black Disabled Employee’s Transfer

A Peoria, Ill., Chevrolet dealership will pay $65,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on April 25.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Green Chevrolet violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by forcing an employee to transfer to a position that had never previously existed when the company learned that the employee was experiencing kidney failure and would require regular dialysis treatment. The EEOC also alleged that when the black employee resisted his transfer by explaining that he was healthy enough to continue working his sales advisor job and by asking why the company did not “get a white guy” to do the new job, the company fired him in retaliation for this opposition.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Michael M. Mihm, Green Chevrolet will pay the former employee $65,000. In addition, the decree prohibits Green Chevrolet from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation in the future. The decree also requires the company to train its managers about the requirements of the ADA and Title VII and to report complaints of disability or race discrimination to the EEOC.

“The EEOC is pleased that this employer has agreed to train its managers on the requirements of the ADA and Title VII,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago. “We always prefer to prevent discrimination from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to seek a fix after the fact.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.

Gochanour said, “We are gratified by Green’s determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to its former employee and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA and Title VII. Early resolution of cases benefits everyone – the discrimination victims, the employers, the EEOC and the courts.”

Pregnancy Bias Suit Settled for $100K; EEOC Alleged Brokerage Firm Withdrew Job Offer

Happily I haven’t had to write up a pregnancy discrimination case of late.

That streak comes to an end today.  For $100,000, a Florida insurance company has settled a lawsuit alleging it rescinded an offer to female employee after learning she was pregnant.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed this Title VII lawsuit last July against Brown & Brown, a Daytona Beach-based insurance brokerage firm. The suit alleged that the firm made a written job offer to the applicant and also sent her an employment agreement for a “personal lines technical assistant” position at its Daytona Beach location and proposed employment start dates. Upon receipt of the offer letter, the applicant affirmed her interest by email and sought to ask a few questions regarding the offer. About two hours later, the applicant spoke with the department leader’s assistant and inquired about maternity benefits because she was pregnant. The assistant immediately advised the department leader of the applicant’s pregnancy and, minutes later, according to the suit, the applicant received an email from the company rescinding the job offer, stating that it “had a very urgent need to have somebody in the position long term …We appreciate you telling us beforehand.”

That appreciation doesn’t let the employer off the hook for this apparent pregnancy discrimination.

“The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires that pregnant employees be treated the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work,” said Michael Farrell, the EEOC’s Miami District director. “This includes treating pregnant employees the same as others at the hiring stage.”

EEOC Miami District Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg added, “The decision to hire should be based upon an applicant’s qualifications, not stereotypical assumptions about pregnancy, motherhood or other caretaking responsibilities.”

EEOC Recovers $60K for African American Employees Fired Over Time Card Dispute

Workplace rules–and the consequences for violating them–must be applied to all employees without regard to race.

A Midwest cabinetmaker learned that this week when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced it had settled a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

According to the EEOC, at Profile Cabinet and Design, a Kansas City, Mo., custom cabinetmaker, violated federal law by discriminating against two employees, Brandon Fitzpatrick and Theopilis Bryant, because of their race.  The EEOC charged that the company fired both men, who are African-American, for allegedly falsifying Bryant’s time card, even though there was evidence that a white employee, who was not fired, was the one responsible for the time card issue.

Employers must take affirmative steps to ensure that workplace decisions are made without respect to race,” said James R. Neely, Jr., director of EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Holding employees to different standards of conduct based on race is unlawful, and the EEOC will continue to combat it.”

The price of the settlement? $60,000 in back wages to the victims of the racial discrimination.