Resolved ADA, Title VII suits net $722K for affected workers; new suit alleges disability discrimination
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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Resolved ADA, Title VII suits net $722K for affected workers; new suit alleges disability discrimination

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

Employers that settled allegations were in the wireless communications, work zone services, sports fashion, restaurant, retail staffing, and stainless steel manufacturing industries.

As October was winding down, and November beginning, the EEOC separately announced the settlement of lawsuits alleging disability, national origin, race, and sex discrimination and sexual harassment and retaliation, recovering $722,390 in monetary relief for affected workers. The federal antidiscrimination agency also filed a new disability discrimination lawsuit against an employer that allegedly withdrew an offer of employment to an applicant who uses prescribed medication.

Hearing impaired worker fired after complaint. Northwest Wireless Enterprises, LLC, will pay $175,000 to a former employee to settle allegations that the exclusive T-Mobile retailer violated the ADA when it fired a sales associate with a congenital hearing impairment at its Spanaway, Washington, store because of her disability. The employee allegedly learned that her store manager told her coworkers that he was tired of repeating himself to her and wanted to fire her. After she filed an internal discrimination complaint, complained to the CEO/owner of the company, and provided written statements from coworkers corroborating the manager's derisive comments, Northwest Wireless fired her without warning a month after her complaint, even though she had above-average sales performance, according to the EEOC.

The employee intervened in the EEOC’s lawsuit after it was filed, bringing additional claims under federal and state law.

Under the two-and-one-half year consent decree settling the suit, Northwest Wireless will also work with the Center for Continuing Education and Rehabilitation at the Northwest ADA Center (operated by the University of Washington) to make its internal policies and procedures more effective under the ADA.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Western District of Washington; the case is No. 3:19-cv-05696-BHS-MLP.

Mexican-American employees harassed. Phoenix, Arizona-based Trafficade Service, Inc., has agreed to pay $82,390 and provide certain equitable relief to resolve an EEOC lawsuit alleging that the work zone services company violated Title VII when it harassed employees based on national origin and then retaliated against them for complaining. Trafficade managers and employees repeatedly used racial slurs when referring to two Mexican-American employees and created an unsafe workplace for them, according to the EEOC. Trafficade also purportedly retaliated against them for complaining to management about the harassment and filing discrimination charges with the federal agency.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit also requires Trafficade to review and revise polices and provide training on federal employment laws to its HR director, executive managers, and line staff. The company will also issue letters of regret to the harmed employees.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the District of Arizona; the case is No. 2:20-cv-01545.

Race and national origin discrimination, racial harassment. Palm USA Inc., dba City Sports, a chain of sports fashion stores with more than 15 locations in Chicago and the surrounding area, will pay $420,000 to 19 current and former employees to settle allegations that it violated Title VII by refusing to hire and promote African-American and Hispanic employees, and by subjecting Black employees to racial harassment. The City Sports locations covered by the lawsuit include stores in Chicago, Harvey, Crest Hill, Bolingbrook, and North Riverside.

City Sports allegedly refused to hire and promote African Americans and Hispanics into management positions and instead favored Koreans to fill management roles. City Sports also purportedly subjected two Black sales employees to harassment because of their race.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, City Sports will also hire a consultant to help implement objective hiring and promotion criteria, procedures, and recruiting practices, and help implement antidiscrimination policies and procedures for investigating discrimination complaints; provide antidiscrimination training; and report to EEOC on management selection and complaints of race or national origin discrimination and harassment.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois; the case is No. 17-cv-6692.

Female cook sexually harassed. WRIG Management, LLC, which operates the Locos Grill & Pub branded restaurants in Georgia, has agreed to pay $20,000 and provide other relief to settle a suit alleging that it violated Title VII when it failed to take action in response to reported sexual harassment. A male cook purportedly made sexual advances toward a female cook that included obscene physical displays to her and indecent propositions. The female cook reported the sexual harassment, but after receiving her complaints, Locos Grill & Pub never again scheduled her for work, the EEOC said.

Under the 18-month consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Locos also agreed to regular reporting, monitoring, annual training, distribution of anti-harassment and antidiscrimination policies, and notice posting.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division; the case is No. 1:20-cv-1707-LMM-CCB.

Refused to hire women for Tire Rack. Burbank, Illinois-based LTI Services, LLC, will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle allegations that the staffing agency serving the northern Indiana and Chicago areas violated Title VII by refusing to hire women for a receiving associate position for one of its clients, Tire Rack. The EEOC said that women who had years of experience were passed over for men who did not meet the experience or work-history requirements.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit also requires that LTI not maintain sex-segregated job classifications and provide training on Title VII’s prohibitions against sex discrimination.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana; the case is No. 3:20-cv-00304.

Applicant rejected due to medication. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, violated the ADA by refusing to hire an applicant because of his use of medication prescribed by his doctor for anxiety and panic attacks, a new EEOC lawsuit alleges. The stainless steel manufacturer, headquartered near Mobile, Alabama, purportedly offered an entry operator position at its Calvert, Alabama, facility to the applicant contingent upon passing a physical examination and drug screening by a third-party company that conducts pre-employment health screenings for employers. When the applicant told the examiner that he takes prescription medication due to anxiety and a history of panic attacks, Outokumpu withdrew the conditional job offer due to possible side effects of the medication, according to the EEOC.

The agency is seeking monetary damages for the applicant, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Companies: Northwest Wireless Enterprises, LLC; Trafficade Service, Inc.; Palm USA Inc.; City Sports; WRIG Management, LLC; Locos Grill & Pub; LTI Services, LLC; Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC

News: AgencyNews Discrimination Discharge NationalOrigin RaceDiscrimination SexDiscrimination SexualHarassment Retaliation GCNNews

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