EEOC - 2018 Lawsuits and Settlements

Date: 2/8/18
Title: EEOC - 2018 Lawsuits and Settlements

EEOC continues to be aggressive in 2018, especially with disability cases

Since January 2018, EEOC has publicized 18 settlements and five Americans with Disabilities lawsuits

Summary of Lawsuits

  • Busse Combat Knife Company [January 19] – the EEOC lawsuit alleges that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing an employee who failed to disclose his anxiety disorder upon hire.  The employee suffered an attack and left work but even after submitting a medical note clearing him to return to work he was fire.
  • Heritage Home Group, LLC [January 31, 2018] – the lawsuit alleges that the company violated the ADA when it denied a reasonable accommodation and then fired one of its employees.  The employee, a diabetic, underwent surgery to have a toe amputated and was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in both feet.  He requested an additional week of leave to fully recover but his request was denied and he was fired.
  • Vantage Drilling [January 31, 2018] – the lawsuit alleges that the company violated the ADA by firing an employee because he had a heart attack on board a drilling rig.  He was targeted for termination while on leave and was discharged upon returning to work.
  • West Meade Place, LLP [February 1] – the lawsuit alleges that the company violated the ADA by refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who suffers from an anxiety disorder and then firing her.  Management denied her request to take leave since the Family and Medical Leave Act did not apply to her.  They requested that she provide a doctor’s note clearing her to return to work without any restrictions, less than 36 hours after requesting the accommodation.  When she could not provide the note quickly, she was terminated.

Summary of Settlements by type

AgeMontrose Memorial Hospital [January 4] – agreed to pay $400k to 29 longtime employees, aged 40 and older, who endured ageist comments and were fired or forced to resign.

Disability

  • Pioneer Health Services [January 10] – agreed to pay $85k for denying an additional leave request and firing an employee who underwent liver transplant surgery.
  • Volvo Group North America [January 19] – agreed to pay $70k for refusing to hire a laborer who was a recovering drug addict.
  • Greektown Casino [January 24] – agreed to pay $140k for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a stress anxiety disorder, leading to his discharge.
  • Lowe’s Home Centers [January 26] – agreed to pay $55k for refusing to accommodate a manager with a spinal cord injury that limited the use of his right arm.  The company was aware of the disability when promoting him and allowed some of his duties be delegated to other employees for six years before indicating that they could no longer provide him with an accommodation and then demoted him.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken [February 1] – agreed to pay $30k for firing a restaurant manager after discovering that she was taking medication for her bipolar disorder.
  • Cheesecake Factory [February 1] – agreed to pay $15k for failing to provide an effective accommodation to a deaf employee and then firing him for issues associated with his disability.
  • Coleman Company [February 6] – entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve allegations of disability discrimination filed by a former employee.  EEOC found probably cause that the company conditioned employees’ receipt of severance pay on an overly broad severance agreement that interfered with the employees’ rights to file charges and communicate with EEOC. 

Equal PayVador Ventures Inc. [January 17] – agreed to pay $36k to settle an equal pay and retaliation lawsuit for paying a day porter a lower wage than her male counterpart for equal work.  She was also assigned additional work, subjected to verbal harassment and fired.

PregnancySilverado [January 29] – agreed to pay $80k for firing a female caregiver instead of accommodating her pregnancy-related medical restrictions by giving her light duty assignments.

Race HarassmentAqua Resources [February 1] – agreed to pay $150k for racial harassment and retaliation.  White superintendent and white foreman repeatedly made derogatory and offense comments to and about an African-American foreman and black employees.

Religion

  • Mission Hospital [January 12] – agreed to pay $89k to three employees who requested an exemption from flu vaccination requirement based on their religious beliefs.  Their request was denied because it was filed after the date for submitting the request.
  • Security Services Company [January 23] – agreed to pay $90k for refusing to accommodate a Muslim security guard who sought modification in the company’s grooming standards.
  • XPO Last Mile [January 30] – agreed to pay $94,541 for rescinding a job offer to a Jewish employee who could not work on Rosh Hashanah.

 Retaliation

  • Aloha Auto Group [January 10] – agreed to pay $30k for firing an employee who encouraged a group of Asian-American and Pacific Islander employees to complain about a racially discriminatory comment.
  • Plastipak Packaging [January 29] – agreed to pay $90k for terminating the assignment of an employee, placed by a temporary agency, who complained that one of its employees had sexually harassed her.

Sexual Harassment - Indi’s Fast Food Restaurant [January 8] – agreed to pay $340k to 15 former female employees subjected to long-standing harassment, including requests for sexual favors, sexually offensive comments and unwanted sexual touching.