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August 2018 Verdicts and Settlements

Published by on August 10, 2018

Our summary of recent jury and EEOC verdicts and settlements for August 2018.

California: Boeing to pay $350,000 to employee due to a racial discrimination lawsuit. Roderick Marshall filed a lawsuit against the aerospace company for a series of racist jokes made against the 18-year Boeing employee. Marshall alleged it created a hostile environment.

Marshall dealt with co-workers and even a supervisor making racist jokes even throwing him a noose. A Boeing employee whom testified, never denied the allegations, but instead blamed Marshall for not speaking up and allowing the company to investigate.

In addition to Marshall’s lawsuit, his attorney will also be representing five other racial harassment and discrimination lawsuits working their way through the courts, with the next trial set to start in September. At this time Boeing had obtained a gag order on employees to prevent them from talking about the lawsuits, leaving the Plaintiff’s attorney with no comment on those pending suits for fear of retaliation.

Washington: Estée Lauder companies to pay $1.1 million to settle class sex discrimination lawsuit. According to the EEOC, the cosmetics giant provided new fathers less paid leave and related benefits for child bonding than it provided to new mothers.

One of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, will pay and provide other relief to resolve a lawsuit charging sex discrimination against male employees. The parental leave at issue was separate from medical leave received for mothers for childbirth and related issues. The allegations also included that the company unlawfully denied new fathers return-to-work benefits provided to new mothers, such as temporary modified work schedules, to east the transitions to work after the arrival of a new child and exhaustion of paid parental leave. The class action consists of 210 male employees.

California: LA Louisanne Restaurant settles pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $82,500. The Los Angeles Cajun restaurant and jazz night club allegedly denied pregnant servers work, and reduced working hours of one of its servers after learning she was pregnant, eventually removing her from the schedule entirely. The company also allegedly refused to allow her to return to work after giving birth.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the company will be required to provide training for all employees regarding discrimination and harassment. The company’s discrimination and harassment policies will also be reviewed and revised.

Washington: Camber Corporation to pay $100,000 to settle disability and age discrimination suit. The defense contractor refused to transfer employee due to son’s disability, then fired him.

The company denied the employee the transfer and then replaced him with someone 20 years younger. The employee’s son has been disabled for more than 25 years, and sought a transfer to work closer to where his son lived and requested leave to assist with his care. Management learned of this request and was aware that the employee was exploring the transfer, therefore Camber Corporation classified him as “resigned”, later terminating and firing him for pretextual reasons.

Georgia: Jones Lang LaSalle Americas ordered to pay $82,500 to settle disability discrimination suit. The commercial real estate company rescinded offer to applicant with disability.

The commercial real estate company’s office in Atlanta office refused to hire an applicant after she disclosed her disability. The applicant had accepted a job offer with the company and disclosed her disability after human resources reached out to her to discuss her new position. The company rescinded her job offer shortly thereafter.

According to the EEOC, the disclosure of her disability should not have led to the action of rescinding the job offer; rather the company should have provided the applicant with an accommodation. The disclosure was the first step in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation should have been assessed.

Arkansas: TrueCore Behavioral Solutions to pay $38,000 to settle equal pay and Title VII lawsuit. According to the EEOC, the company failed to pay a female investigator the same as a male investigator.

The manager of programs and services at a juvenile correction facility was alleged to have paid a male investigator a significant amount in higher pay than its female employee whom took over the position that was vacated by the male employee.

Alabama: Car Wash Headquarters to pay $225,000 to settle class race discrimination suit. The Car Wash Headquarters, doing business as Mister Car Wash and Mister Hotshine allegedly failed to promote African-American employees to management.

The EEOC claimed that Antonio Purdom and a class of similarly situated African-American employees were never promoted to supervisor and management positions at its Birmingham-area locations. Instead, less qualified white employees were promoted, with no prior work experience. In some cases, the African-American employees were responsible for training the same unexperienced white employees, whom were later promoted to management.

Mississippi: Halliburton to pay $280,000 for breach of settlement agreement in a Jackson, Mississipi discrimination case. The oil and gas exploration services company failed to honor agreement to hire applicant to resolve disability bias charge.

Halliburton entered into a mediation settlement agreement with the EEOC and a rejected job applicant in regards to a disability discrimination charge brought against the company. Halliburton also promised to rehire the applicant into a position, subject to successful employment screening. After passing a successful employment screening, the company failed to hire the applicant for a position.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit also requires Halliburton to provide the applicant with a positive employment reference signed and printed on the company’s letterhead.

California: Pacific Bell settles disability discrimination lawsuit for $15,000. The telephone company formerly known as AT&T Pacific Bell refused a deaf employee’s requests for interpreter.

According to the EEOC, the employee had numerous requests for a sign language interpreter, although Pacific Bell failed to accommodate. Managers instead chose to provide inadequate accommodations for the worker by standing close to them during meetings so that he could read their lips, or by jotting down notes explaining the contents of the meeting after the fact. This behavior by management negatively affected him as an employee and deprived him of equal employment opportunities.

Utah: Associated Fresh Market to pay $832,500 to resolve disability discrimination allegations. The grocery store chain allegedly disadvantaged a class of people with disabilities.

The EEOC found the employer had a practice of denying reasonable accommodations. The employer required its employees to have no restrictions or be 100% ready to return to work; denying leave as a reasonable accommodation; and refusing to provide reassignment to a vacant position as required under the ADA. This resulted in termination or resignation of a group of qualified individuals with disabilities.

North Carolina: Golden Corral franchisee to pay $85,000 to settle disability and sex harassment lawsuit. An assistant restaurant manager of the Golden Corral Restaurant, which is operated by Jax LLC, was reported of physically and verbally abusing autistic employee and was forced to quit to escape harassment.

Sean Fernandez a dishwasher has high-functioning autism, which limits his ability to communicate and interact with others. For a couple years, a male assistant manager had allegedly created a hostile work environment by verbally abusing the employee. The assistant manager also had asked for sexual favors, threatened to sexually assault him, and subjected him to unwanted physical contact. Fernandez filed a complaint with the general and district managers, but the company failed to take action to prevent and correct the hostile work environment.

Wisconsin: Scion Dental to pay $98,000 to settle race discrimination suit. The dental benefit administration company rejected qualified African American candidate based on race.

According to the EEOC, Scion Dental failed to hire a temporary employee into permanent positions because she is African American. It was reported that the company twice rejected the temporary employee’s application, despite her solid job performance, while hiring seven less qualified non-African Americans for the position.

The company is required to provide training on race discrimination to all its employees, to report any complaints by its employees about race discrimination, and to report to the EEOC regarding all hiring decisions until December of 2020. These requirements are in additional to the monetary relief.

South Carolina: Applebee’s Grill and Bar to pay $75,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuit. New Apple, Inc. dba Applebee’s Grill and Bar, owns and operates several of the Applebee’s restaurants. An assistant manager at their North Myrtle Beach location subjected two sisters to sexual comments and touching.

One of the male assistant managers had allegedly subjected Tracy and Cindy Frye to sexual harassment. The alleged abuse endured by the Frye sisters included physical groping and sexual comments. The offensive conduct was witnessed by members of management and although the Frye sisters reported the harassment to multiple managers on many occasions, the company failed to promptly stop the harassment.

California: Mueller Industries, a metal goods manufacturer settles class disability discrimination for $1 million. The company’s strict enforcement of 180-day maximum leave and attendance policies disadvantages workers with disabilities.

The EEOC contended that the company engaged in systemic discrimination against employees with disabilities. The company terminated employees and /or failed to provide reasonable accommodations for those exceeding its maximum 180-day leave policy. The company also implemented an attendance policy that assigned points to employees’ absences regardless of reason. Once the absence points accumulated, the employee would then be terminated.

Washington: National Association for the Education of Young Children to pay $41,777 to settle equal pay lawsuit. Professional membership organization paid female associate editor lower wages than male counterpart.

The EEOC claimed that the organization paid former Associate Editor Denni Johnson lower wages than it paid to male associated editor whose job was equivalent to Johnson’s. The male counterpart who was hired six months after Johnson, had substantially less editing and writing experience, but was paid about $8,000 more annually.

Illinois: Two Illinois House of Pancakes (IHOP) franchisees will pay $975,000 to pay almost $1 million to settle sexual harassment suit. Teens among victims of misconduct including simulated sex acts, sexual contact, unwanted sexual comments and physical threats. Charges against numerous employees at the locally owned Glen Carbon and Alton, IL, restaurants were routinely sexually harassed by coworkers and managers, including offensive sexual physical threats.

In a consent decree, the court will require the defendants to pay compensatory damages to 16 harassment victims, some of which were teenagers at the time. The company will also need to implement, distribute and enforce tougher policies prohibiting sexual harassment and establish procedures for these types of complaints. The owner will also be required to be involved in preventing and correcting any complaints as well.

North Dakota: Cudd Energy services to pay $39,900 to settle racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The oilfield service company subjected to Asian employee to abuse. The employee was subjected to a racially hostile work environment because of his race, thereafter firing him after he complained.

Alexis Villanueva worked for Cudd Energy Services as an equipment operator. According to the EEOC, he was being racially harassed by his supervisor, who is white. On one occasion his supervisor physically assaulted Villanueva by pouring water on the employee’s head and pushing his head towards a table. After Villanueva complained to supervisors and to the police, he was shortly fired based on his race and retaliation for his opposition to the harassment.

Illinois: Malcolm S. Gerald & Associates to pay $25,000 to settle sex harassment suit. The collection company subjected to employee to harassment based on his sexual orientation. Supervisors and coworkers made unwelcome and offensive comments about his sexual orientation.

In additional to the monetary settlement, the company would is required to train its employees with respect to the requirements of the Title VII and to properly report complaints of sexual harassment.

California: Bornt & Sons, Inc. and its former farmer labor contractor Barraza Farm Service, LLC will pay $300,000 to settle sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. California farm manager harassed a class of female farmworkers and fired those who would complained.

Barraza Farm Service’s manager allegedly sexually harassed four female workers by leering at them, making sexual comments and grabbing them inappropriately. The manager retaliated against at least three women who refused his sexual advances, by firing or refusing to hire them. Bornt & Sons also fired three male farmworkers for their familial association with the harassment victims.

Alabama: Zachry Industrial, Inc. to pay $135,000 to settle disability discrimination lawsuit. The construction company which staffs the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula, MS wrongfully terminated employees based on their medical history despite their fitness for duty.

The EEOC alleged that Zachry discriminated against four employees based on their medical history following an occupational health examination, despite the employees having adequately performed their jobs. Accommodations were not provided toward these employees nor did they discuss as to whether they were able to perform the essential functions.

Texas: Signature Industrial to pay $135,000 to settle disability discrimination suit. Petro-Chemical contractor fired brothers because of their blood disorder.

Three brothers whom were employed as laborers for a manufacturing company, were allegedly fired because of a blood disorder that funs in their family. All brothers have Hemophilia A, a blood disorder that does not impeded their performing jobs, but which requires expensive medicine for treatment should they sustain an injury that causes bleeding. After the company learned of the insurance costs to increase to have the brothers on payroll, they instructed lower-level managers to fire them. The project managers initially refused to fire them, but after that manager left the plant the direct supervisor was ordered to fire them in which they were told instead that they were being laid off.

Florida: The SLS hotel to pay $2.5 million to settle Race, Color, National Origin lawsuit. The EEOC claimed that the hotel fired employees based on race, color and national origin.

The lawsuit alleged that seventeen Black Haitian dishwashers were wrongfully terminated on the basis of their race, color, and national origin. They all worked in the kitchens of the restaurant venues located at SLS hotel.

The dishwashers were referred to “slaves” by their supervisors and reprimanded for speaking their native language, even amongst themselves, while Hispanic employees were allowed to speak Spanish. The Haitian dishwashers complained to human resources about discrimination and about the supervisor being racist. The hotel instead ended up firing the entire dishwashing department made up primarily of black Haitians, without providing them an opportunity to apply to the staffing agency before their termination.

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