The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced settlements of 27 discrimination cases during the third quarter of 2013. As usual, I will highlight what I found most interesting and summarize the settlement data on most of the other cases.
Title VII prohibits Gender Identity discrimination.
A supermarket paid $50,000 to settle with a former employee fired for being transgender. Previously, the EEOC found that gender identity is covered by Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition. Macy v. Dept. of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (2012). EEOC noted that there have been “a steady stream of district court decisions” so holding.
It is dumb to fire the HR director.
“It’s Just Lunch,” the dating service, did not hire men for certain jobs. The human resources director opposed the employer’s gender-based hiring practices. So, IJL fired her.
Of course, the HR director knew where the bodies were buried, which cost the employer $900,000. The whistleblower received about $130,000, and the rest was allocated for male applicants.
Rednecks cost employers.
“I don’t know why we don’t just kill all them towelheads,” was a fine example of speech that created a hostile working environment to former employee Adam Donmez, a Turkish / Palestinian Muslim. Eventually, Adam quit and sued Swift Aviation, a Phoenix, Arizona company. The employer paid $50,000 to Adam and now operates under a consent decree.
Hispanic workers in a Salt Lake City warehouse endured name calling like “[expletive] Mexicans” and “[expletive] you, mojado” [wetback]. Perhaps management encouraged such conduct with its policy against anyone speaking a language other than English. The EEOC charged the company with national origin discrimination. The company settled for $450,000, rescinded its language policy and agreed to “extensive” injunctive relief.
Women over 50 – Beware.
The CEO wanted “younger and prettier” women to meet with potential customers and entertain them after regular work hours. So, 53 year-old Toni Strength got the boot, and a 23-year old clerical worker took over most of her duties. $140,000 settled the case.
AT&T paid $250,000 to settle with a woman aged 53 whom it fired while retaining lower-performing younger workers.
The following summarizes other claims and amounts paid, but it does not indicate conditions imposed by consent decrees.
|Post-partum depression. Pretext: the job is critical and needs to be filled. Yet, it accommodated new hire’s request to delay start for three months.||$90,500|
|Employer feared that someone might knock down employee with prosthetic leg. Staffing agency recalled her. Staffing agency paid. EEOC is still pursuing employer.||$100,000|
|Leg fracture while working. Worker wanted wheelchair ramp and ability to use walker. Employer fired her days after her request for accommodation.||$125,000|
|Certified Nursing Assistant at rehabilitation facility did not want to supervise the residents’ smoking breaks because it aggravated her asthma and caused a severe asthma attack.||$51,000|
|Employer denied extension of leave to recover from knee surgery.||$75,000|
|Employer denied requests by deaf and hearing-impaired applicants for American Sign Language interpreters during training.||$57,500|
|Employer refused to accommodate visually impaired employee.||$20,000|
|Religious Discrimination. New hotel managers stopped accommodating a Seventh-Day Adventist’s Sabbath.||$45,000|
|Sex Discrimination. Employer fired a top female sales associate while opting to retain male sales associates with significant fewer sales. The numbers don’t lie.||$65,000|
|Race Discrimination. Coal mining company excluded a class of African-American applicants from coal mining jobs in Kentucky.||$245,000|
|African-American entertainers in a gentleman’s club had segregated work schedules. Management cut their hours when they complained.||$50,000|
|African-American elevator mechanic, who worked for the company for 29 years, was laid off. The field superintendent retained Caucasian employees whose performance was worse.||$35,000|
|Sexual Harassment. Female manager made sexual comments and propositions to three female subordinates. She fired them when they complained to her boss.||$302,000|
|Male manger propositioned, touched and leered at female employees.||$215,000|
|Manager and cook subjected several women to sexually explicit words, sexual comments, propositioned them, and made threats of forced sexual acts.||$91,000|
|EEOC pursued sexual harassment of workers at the Saipan workplace of Pacific Airport Services.||$65,000|
|“Get rid of your boyfriend if you want to advance,” and other harassment of waitress.||$25,000|
|Employee protested new hire because new hire harassed her at a prior workplace. Employer fired the complainer.||$22,500|
Copyright, 2013, Jeff Merrick, Merrick Mediation