New suits allege age, disability, religious discrimination, sexual harassment; other allegations settled
Thursday, June 27, 2019

New suits allege age, disability, religious discrimination, sexual harassment; other allegations settled

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

Allegations of religious discrimination—no religious accommodation for refusing a flu shot—and sexual harassment/retaliation were separately settled for $74,418 and $2,500, respectively.

In recent days the EEOC has announced the filing of new lawsuits against unrelated employers in North Carolina and Illinois alleging age, disability, and religious discrimination, and sexual harassment. The Commission also settled earlier allegations of religious discrimination and retaliation against employers in Michigan and Hawaii.

Age discrimination. Liberty Support Services, Inc., violated the ADA when the North Carolina corporation, which maintains rest areas through contracts with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT), fired or failed to rehire several older workers based on their age, according to the EEOC.

In 2016, Liberty Support employed three workers as rest area attendants for the DOT Cherokee County rest area. In December 2016, the DOT began scheduled renovations at the rest area necessitating its closure. The rest area attendants were laid off during the renovations but were not told they were being discharged; they expected to return to their jobs after the renovations were completed, the EEOC said. Around May 2017, the three attendants, who are all over age 40, purportedly learned that they had been discharged and replaced with younger workers, under age 40. The EEOC contends that Liberty Support discharged, or failed to rehire, the four employees because of their respective ages.

The federal agency also alleges that Liberty Support failed to keep employment records required by law.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Western District of North Carolina; the case is No. 3:19-cv-00293.

Disability discrimination. M&M Limousine Service ran afoul of the ADA when the Des Plaines, Illinois-based company refused to hire or consider potential accommodations for a qualified deaf job applicant, the EEOC contends.

The applicant applied for the position of limousine driver, but M&M allegedly refused to hire him and failed to consider whether he could do the job, with or without reasonable accommodations. M&M told the applicant that it could not hire him because he is deaf, despite the fact that he met the qualifications for the position, according to the EEOC.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in Northern District of Illinois; the case is No. 19-CV-4213.

Sexual harassment. Hunter Auto & Wrecker Service, Inc., violated Title VII when the Charlotte, North Carolina-headquartered corporation subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment, the EEOC alleges.

The employee worked in a Hunter Auto & Wrecker Service office from February 2018 to August 2018. Around March 2018, male employees purportedly made unwelcome sexual comments or engaged in sexually offensive conduct toward her almost daily. When she complained, management told her to ignore it, the EEOC said. The employee allegedly quit her job because Hunter Auto & Wrecker Service took no action to stop the harassment.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Western District of North Carolina; the case is No. 3:19-cv-00295.

Retaliation. Asheville, North Carolina-based George W. Morosani and Associates, LLC, violated Title VII when it fired an employee because he complained that his supervisor used racial slurs, according to the EEOC.

The employee, who is black, worked for George W. Morosani and Associates as a maintenance helper at Wellington Community Estates in Arden, North Carolina. The agency alleges that on or about July 27, 2017, the maintenance supervisor called the employee the N-word and accused him of complaining about being assigned "N-word work." The employee said he complained to a managing member of the company about the use of racial slurs by the maintenance supervisor on that same day. While the managing member stated he would look into the matter and get back to the employee, on August 1, 2017, the managing member notified the employee that he was discharged, the Commission contends.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Western District of North Carolina; the case is No. 3:19-cv-00297.

Religious discrimination. Memorial Healthcare will pay $74,418 and furnish other relief to settle allegations that the operator of a hospital in Owosso, Michigan, ran afoul of Title VII when it refused to hire a medical transcriptionist because of her religious beliefs against receiving flu shots and refused to accommodate those beliefs.

Memorial refused to accommodate the sincerely held religious requirement of the employee, whose Christian beliefs required her to forgo inoculations, the EEOC alleged. She offered to wear a mask during flu season. This was an acceptable alternative under hospital policy for those with medical problems with the flu shot, according to the EEOC, but Memorial refused to extend it to her, and instead rescinded her offer of employment.

In addition, to the monetary relief for the employee ($34,418 in back pay, $20,000 in compensatory damages, and $20,000 in punitive damages), Memorial confirmed that it now permits those with religious objections to wear masks in lieu of having a flu vaccine. The hospital will also train managerial staff participating in the accommodation process on the religious accommodation policy.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Eastern District of Michigan; the case is No. 2:18-cv-10523.

Sexual harassment and retaliation. Skyline Ultd, Inc., has agreed to pay $2,500 to an aggrieved employee to resolve charges that the professional services provider to federal, state and local agencies violated Title VII by subjecting female employees to sexual harassment and retaliation.

To demonstrate its support of Title VII, Skyline entered into a two-and-a-half-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and the employee, thereby avoiding litigation, the EEOC said. In addition to the monetary relief, Skyline will provide antidiscrimination training to all employees and revise its policies and procedures against discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Companies: Liberty Support Services, Inc.; M&M Limousine Service; Hunter Auto & Wrecker Service, Inc.; George W. Morosani and Associates, LLC; Memorial Healthcare: Skyline Ultd, Inc.

News: AgencyNews Discrimination Discharge AgeDiscrimination DisabilityDiscrimination RaceDiscrimination ReligiousDiscrimination SexDiscrimination SexualHarassment Retaliation

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