Seven suits settled for $448,000; four new lawsuits announced
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Seven suits settled for $448,000; four new lawsuits announced

By Lauren Bikoff, MLS

The EEOC has settled seven unrelated cases, including two involving pregnancy, three involving disability bias, and one each for race and sexual orientation discrimination. The agency also said it has filed four new lawsuits.

Seven lawsuits charging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act have been settled by the EEOC, with relief totaling $448,000 for employees in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia. The Commission also announced it has filed lawsuits against employers in Indiana and Washington for ADA violations, as well as employers in Indiana and Minnesota for violating Title VII.


Foreperson with hearing loss fired. Houma, Louisiana-based Tamco Professional Coating Services, Inc. has agreed to pay $90,000 and conduct training to settle a lawsuit brought by the EEOC. According to the federal agency, the coating, painting, and sandblasting company told a foreperson that its insurance costs would increase because of the foreperson's hearing loss and that, soon after, Tamco fired the foreperson. According to the lawsuit, Tamco discharged the employee without following its own progressive discipline process in violation with the ADA.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Eastern District of Louisiana; the case is No. 19-cv-10775.

Chef-educator with inactive TB demoted. Educational after-school camp Cooking Round the World (CRW) will pay $3,000 to a former employee to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. According to the EEOC, a chef educator employed by the Oakland, California-headquartered camp received a positive test result for an inactive form of tuberculosis (TB) in March 2017. Although the employee provided a doctor’s certification permitting her to work in a school environment and as a medical assistant, CRW insisted that she could not continue teaching young children. Instead, the company offered her fewer hours for less pay working at a recruitment table passing out leaflets promoting its programs.

As part of the settlement, CRW is required to develop and implement EEO policies, procedures, and training; will provide anti-discrimination training; make available its EEO policy to all employees and applicants; report to the EEOC all complaints of disability discrimination it receives over the next 18 months; and post a notice for employees about the consent decree and employee rights under federal law.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Northern District of California; the case is No. 4:18-cv-05880.

Driver with prostate cancer fired rather than given unpaid leave. Vallen Distribution, Inc., a provider of indirect industrial supplies, will pay $75,000 to settle an EEOC disability discrimination suit. The suit alleged that Vallen fired a delivery driver in the company’s Augusta, Georgia warehouse, instead of granting his request for unpaid leave for a defined period of time to treat and recover from prostate cancer. The driver was terminated the day before his scheduled surgery, the federal agency said.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Southern District of Georgia; the case is No. 1:18-cv-00146-JRH-BKE.

"When are you having another baby?" The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, a retirement community in Sarasota, Florida, will pay $70,000 to settle a Title VII and PDA discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. According to the lawsuit, a manager at Glenridge texted an applicant to ask when she planned on having another baby, explaining, "With this position it doesn't leave a lot of time off for long periods of time." Glenridge failed to interview the applicant and offered the position to an older female.

Glenridge will also adopt and distribute an updated policy on sex discrimination; conduct annual training on sex discrimination for its hiring officials; and post a notice about the lawsuit.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division; the case is No. 8:18-cv-02340-T02-CPT.

Job offer rescinded after pregnancy revealed. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Community Care Health Network, LLC, dba Matrix Medical Network, has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination brought by the EEOC. The lawsuit alleged that the nationwide health care company rescinded a job offer to the applicant for a credentialing manager position within a week of learning she was pregnant, violating Title VII and the PDA.

As part of the settlement, Matrix Medical is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex, including pregnancy, in the future. The company is also required to review and revise its EEO policies, revise its personal leave-of-absence polity to include a provision that pregnant employees may take leave during their first six months of employment, and train supervisors on Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the District of Arizona; the case is No. 2:18-cv-03008-JTT.

Harassment of gay male server. Mejia Corporation, dba El Tio Tex-Mex Grill, a restaurant in Gainesville, Virginia, will pay $40,000 to settle a harassment lawsuit. The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that El Tio employees routinely subjected a gay male server to unwelcome harassing and offensive behavior, and similarly harassed the server’s straight coworker friend based on their friendship, violating Title VII. Both employees reported the harassment to El Tio’s management, but no action was taken to stop the harassment.

In addition to the monetary relief, El Tio is prohibited from engaging in sex discrimination or retaliation in the future. The company will also draft and distribute to its employees a complaint procedure and harassment policy and train its supervisors and employees on the new policies, as well as workplace harassment issues.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia; the case is No. 1:18-cv-01226-MSN.

Race discrimination in criminal background check. International home furnishings and specialty retailer Pier 1 Imports will pay $20,000 to resolve a race discrimination charge, according to the EEOC. The EEOC had charged that an applicant was denied a position as assistant manager at the company’s Montclair, California, location after a criminal background check was conducted. The EEOC said that the company’s use of criminal records limited the employment opportunity of the job applicant based on his race, which violates Title VII.

Without admitting liability, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company agreed to enter into a two-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and the alleged victim, thereby avoiding litigation. In addition to the monetary relief, Pier 1 Imports will revise its policies and procedures, eliminate its background screening process, and remove the conviction question from its employment application.

New lawsuits

Senior living facility allegedly denies urine sample accommodation. The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Brookdale Senior Living, Inc., for refusing to hire an Indianapolis applicant because of disability, violating the ADA. According to the federal agency, the senior living solutions provider offered an applicant a server position at its Brookdale Place at Fall Creek facility, pending medical testing and drug screening. Due to a disability, the applicant could only provide a urine sample via a stoma in her abdomen, which must be catheterized using a quick catheter. Brookdale allegedly denied the applicant’s request for a reasonable accommodation, subjected her to extensive and invasive questioning about her disability, and then rescinded the job offer.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division; the case is No. 1:19-cv-3331.

New store manager allegedly "tires" of accommodating salesperson with hearing impairment. Northwest Wireless Enterprises, LLC, a Bremerton, Washington-based independent retailer of T-Mobile products and services, violated the ADA when it stopped accommodating a sales associate with a severe hearing impairment and instead fired her, according to a lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

According to the suit, the employee informed Northwest Wireless about her severe hearing impairment when she was hired in December 2017. In April 2018, a new store manager allegedly expressed to other employees his desire to fire her because he said he was tired of repeating himself when communicating with her. Despite the employee alerting the company owners and district manager that her manager wanted to fire her due to her disability, neither took any action in response to her internal complaint of discrimination. Northwest Wireless fired her on June 29, 2018, without prior warning, for alleged attendance and performance issues.

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

Vending and coffee service rep applicant denied job allegedly because of race. Mishawaka, Indiana-based Coffel Vending rejected a black applicant for an open position because of his race, according to a lawsuit filed by the federal agency. The lawsuit contends the vending and coffee service provider favored Caucasian applicants for vending service representative positions and refused to hire a black applicant with many years of experience due to his race, violating Title VII.

The EEOC brought its lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division; the case is No. 3:19-596.

Trucking company’s strength test purportedly discriminates against females. The EEOC has filed suit against Stan Koch & Sons Trucking for violating Title VII by using a strength test that discriminates against women truck drivers. According to the lawsuit, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based trucking company’s use of the CRT Test, a strength test developed by Cost Reduction Technologies, Inc., discriminates against women truck drivers because of their sex. Specifically, the EEOC alleges that the CRT Test disproportionately screens out women who are qualified for truck driver positions at Koch. This includes the original complainant, who was fired from her job as a truck driver by Koch when she failed the CRT Test.

The EEOC filed its suit in the District of Minnesota; the case is No. 0:19-cv-02148.

Companies: Tamco Professional Coating Services, Inc.; Cooking Round the World; The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch; Community Care Health Network, LLC; Matrix Medical Network; Mejia Corporation; El Tio Tex-Mex Grill; Pier 1 Imports; Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.; Northwest Wireless Enterprises, LLC; Coffel Vending; Stan Koch & Sons Trucking; Cost Reduction Technologies, Inc.

News: AgencyNews Discharge Discrimination DisabilityDiscrimination PregnancyDiscrimination RaceDiscrimination SexDiscrimination SexualHarassment Retaliation

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