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Settlements of EEOC Discrimination Lawsuits

2017-04-11

National Origin and Color Discrimination

To settle an EEOC lawsuit, King-Lar will pay $325,000 for allowing its white employees to verbally harass and threaten a black employee of Puerto Rican origin which ultimately led to a brutal physical assault.  The allegations included slurs such as “s..c,” “n….r,” “Mexican N….r,” and “wetback,”  EEOC alleged that one of its owners and other managers knew about the discrimination and failed to act to stop it.

In addition to providing for the $325,000 in monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit mandates that King-Lar have a system where employees can complain anonymously online or to a 1-800 number; train its employees on harassment and discrimination; and make clear that King-Lar will take allegations of discrimination seriously.

Retaliation

Desco Industries will pay $45k for terminating an employee for complaining about race discrimination.  The black employee worked for Desco in 2015 through a third-party staffing agency when he discussed his interest in a forklift position with the company’s warehouse foreman.  When he observed a non-black employee operating a forklift, he assumed that he was passed over for the position because of his race.  He complained to the staff agency recruiter who notified Desco of the employee’s race discrimination complaint.  Within days, Desco fired him in retaliation for complaining about discrimination.

ABL Management, a food management company, will pay $35k for firing a Panama City employee after he reported that his male supervisor sexually harassed him.  EEOC alleged that ABL assigned the employee to serve as a kitchen supervisor in a County jail and while working in an isolated food storage area, he was approached and groped by a male kitchen manager.  The supervisor reported the offending conduct to his immediate supervisor and was advised that the company would conduct an investigation.  However, within several weeks of making the report, he was fired as retaliation for company, EEOC alleged.

Religious Discrimination

U.S. Steel Tubular Products, Inc. will pay $150k under a two-year consent decree to settle religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The company revoked a job offer to a Nazirite applicant whose religion forbids him from cutting hair from his scalp.  According to the lawsuit, the employee applied for a utility technician position in November 2011 and received an oral employment offer that was contingent on a successful completion of a pre-employment drug test.   The plaintiff belongs to the Nazirite sect of the Hebrew Israelite faith and sincerely believes that the Old Testament forbids him from cutting hair from his scalp.  During a hair follicle drug test the same day he received a job offer, he declined to have a lock of his hair cut starting at the scalp but offered alternatives, such as pulling hair from his beard which was consistent with the drug test protocol.   Instead he was instructed to go home without the examination being completed and was denied the opportunity to re-test.
The plaintiff applied for other vacancies, one of which led to a scheduled interview; however, it was later cancelled by the company.

Sex Discrimination

Country Fresh, a subsidiary of Dean Foods, will pay $84,750 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit for failing to promote a woman to a supervisory position because of her sex.  The plaintiff had worked in various production jobs throughout the plant, had decades of experience, and was repeatedly bypassed for promotions over men.
Disability Discrimination

Zale Delaware, Inc. dba Piercing Pagoda, will pay $30k and enter into a two-year consent decree to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit for firing a kiosk manager because of an orthopedic disability.  The manager, hire in May 2010 has degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain.  In April 2013, she informed the company that she needed to sit for 15 minutes of each hour as an accommodation for her disability.  Prior to her request, she was out on medical leave related to her disability but was cleared by her doctor to return to work with the restriction.  The company refused her request insisting that she stand her entire work shift and then fired her.
American Blue Ribbons Holding, LLC dba Legendary Baking will pay $35k to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit for firing an employee because of a spinal cord condition. The employee was denied light duty work as an accommodation.  The company then fired her and refused to rehire her because of her disability.

Age Discrimination

Texas Roadhouse restaurant will pay $12 million and enter into 3 ½ year consent decree to settle an age discrimination lawsuit.  The restaurant denied applicants, age 40 years and older, front-of-the-house positions, such as servers, hosts, server assistants and bartender.   The money will be given to applicants over the age of 40 who applied for these positions between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2014. The original case resulted in a hung jury after a four-week trial.  The retrial was scheduled for May 2017 when the settlement occurred.  

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.