Manufacturer to pay $335K to settle sexual harassment claims; new suits filed
Friday, September 18, 2020

Manufacturer to pay $335K to settle sexual harassment claims; new suits filed

By Lauren Bikoff, MLS

Five new lawsuits raise claims of disability, pregnancy and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.

A Tennessee-based manufacturer will pay $335,000 to settle allegation of Title VII violations, the EEOC has announced. In addition, the agency filed suits against companies in Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, and Texas for various Title VII and Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Supervisor harassed multiple women. Marelli Tennessee USA, LLC, dba Marelli, will pay $335,000 to four former female employees to settle allegations of sexual harassment. According to the EEOC, the international exterior lighting manufacturer for the automotive industry violated Title VII when it ignored multiple complaints of harassment. The complaint alleged that a male assembly line supervisor sexually harassed multiple women while employed at the Pulaski, Tennessee, plant. Even though the women reported the supervisor’s conduct to management officials, the company purportedly failed to take appropriate measures to protect the employees from harassment.

Marelli also will modify its current sexual harassment policy to specify that employees may make written or verbal complaints and distribute the updated policy within 75 days of the decree. Further, the company will provide annual sexual harassment training and conduct employee exit interviews.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Middle District of Tennessee; the case is No. 1:18-cv-00074.

Sexual harassment/retaliation suit filed. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., an international restaurant chain, violated Title VII when a Tampa, Florida, location service manager was sexually harassed by a coworker and fired in retaliation for complaining about it, according to a lawsuit filed by the federal agency. The suit claims that a Chipotle crew person repeatedly made sexually offensive remarks and inappropriately touched the service manager. The conduct escalated into two sexual assaults on the same day. Having already repeatedly reported the harassment to the store’s management prior to the assaults, the service manager allegedly told the store management that she planned to report the sexual assaults to corporate headquarters. Within three days, she was terminated.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida; the case is No. 8:20-cv-02128.

Refused promotion because of visual impairment. National hotel chain Red Roof Inns, Inc., violated the ADA when it refused to promote an employee because of his visual impairment, the EEOC says in a new lawsuit. An employee of the Red Roof Inns’ corporate call center in Springfield, Ohio expressed interest in a promotion to a newly available position. Red Roof Inns allegedly refused to accommodate the employee in his attempt to learn more about and compete for the promotion, stating it would be a waste of his time to apply for the position because his visual impairment could not be accommodated, which violates the ADA.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division; the case is No. 3:20-cv-00381.

No accommodation for pregnancy-related disability. A new lawsuit charges that Rural/Metro Corporation of Florida, dba American Medical Response (AMR), violated Title VII and the ADA by refusing to accommodate an employee with a pregnancy-related disability. According to the EEOC, the emergency and non-emergency medical transporter in the Orlando area denied an emergency medical technician light duty when she began experiencing severe pregnancy-related complications.

Even though AMR accommodates employees who are temporarily unable to perform their regular duties, AMR refused to accommodate her because its policy was limited to employees with occupational injuries or illnesses. Instead, AMR allegedly told her, "if you can’t get on the truck, you have to fill out your FMLA," the EEOC said. AMR also refused to allow her to receive cross-training while she was on leave.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division; the case is No. 6:20-cv-01678.

Two workers fired for religious objections to new dress code. The Kroger Company, dba Kroger Store No. 625 in Conway, Arkansas, violated Title VII when it fired two employees who asked for a religious accommodation to avoid wearing an emblem they believed contradicted their religious beliefs, the EEOC has charged.

According to the suit, the Conway Kroger implemented a new dress code, which included an apron depicting a rainbow-colored heart emblem on the bib of the apron. The women believed the emblem endorsed LGBTQ values and that wearing it would violate their religious beliefs. Allegedly, one woman offered to wear the apron with the emblem covered and the other offered to wear a different apron without the emblem, but the company made no attempt to accommodate their requests. When the women still refused to wear the apron with the emblem visible, Kroger retaliated against them by disciplining and ultimately discharging them, the EEOC charged.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Eastern District of Arkansas, Central Division; the case is No. 4:20-cv-01099.

Refused religious-based accommodation. Tennessee-based Wellpath, LLC, a provider of health services in correctional facilities, violated Title VII when it refused to accommodate the religious beliefs of a nurse, the federal agency has charged in a new lawsuit. According to the suit, a nurse who is a practicing Apostolic Pentecostal Christian was hired by Wellpath to work in the GEO Central Texas Correctional Facility in downtown San Antonio. Before reporting to work, the nurse told a Wellpath human resources employee that her religious beliefs require her to dress modestly and to wear a scrub skirt instead of scrub pants while at work. In response, Wellpath allegedly denied the request for her religion-based accommodation and rescinded the nurse’s job offer. According to the suit, the nurse had worn a scrub skirt in other nursing jobs, including at a juvenile correctional facility.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division; the case is No. 5:20-cv-1092.

Companies: Marelli Tennessee USA, LLC; Marelli; Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.; Red Roof Inns, Inc.; Rural/Metro Corporation of Florida; American Medical Response; The Kroger Company; Kroger Store No. 625; Wellpath, LLC; GEO Central Texas Correctional Facility

News: AgencyNews Discharge Discrimination DisabilityDiscrimination PregnancyDiscrimination ReligiousDiscrimination SexDiscrimination SexualHarassment Retaliation

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