May 2019 Verdicts and Settlements
Published by Eric A. Welter on June 27, 2019
Our summary of recent verdicts and settlements for May 2019.
California: Los Angeles Police officers win $8.6 million retaliation suit for reporting sexual harassment of a colleague. For months, Elliot Zibli and David Dooros witnessed their supervisor and Unit Chief sexually harass a female colleague, Officer Karolin Clarke. The unit chief, Danny Garcia, supervised the K-9 unit department where the three officers work.
On several occasions, Zibli and Dooros witnessed Clarke being harassed by Garcia. Both Zibli and Dooros made complaints to other superiors only to suffer severe backlash. These retaliatory punishments included them not being provided enough safety and support during life threatening situations. Although Zibli eventually resigned due to fearing for his safety, Dooros remains on the force. Meanwhile, Garcia was transferred to another division unit without further discipline.
In a male-dominated environment, Zibli and Dooros felt the need to speak up about what was happening to their peer. Instead, they were retaliated against simply because they were protecting her.
New York: A&F Fire Protection Co., Inc. to pay $407,500 to settle race discrimination and retaliation suit. The fire and sprinkler standpipe contractor located in West Babylon allowed a racially hostile work environment and retaliated against employees who complained.
The employer was charged with discriminating against black and Hispanic employees, subjecting them to frequent use of racial slurs in the workplace. The employees who complained had their job responsibilities changed, including one supervisor whose supervisory authority was reduced. Another employee who filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC was later fired under pretextual circumstances.
California: Pape Material Handling, Inc. to pay $650,000 to settle a national origin harassment suit. The nationwide company that operates forklift products failed to address racial slurs and harassment against Hispanic employees.
Some employees at their Fresno facility engaged in harassment of Hispanic employees by using derogatory slurs and making fun of Hispanic accents. The company failed to address employee complaints, leaving the affected employees to quit as their only recourse to avoid harassment.
Colorado: JBS Carriers, Inc., a national trucking company, to pay $250,000 to settle disability discrimination suit. The trucking company was charged with screening out applicants based on their disability even though they were otherwise qualified for the truck driving positions they sought. If an applicant failed any one of several tests relating to physical abilities, a third-party test administrator (whom JBS contracted) would send a negative job recommendation. Upon receipt of the negative recommendation, JBS then withdrew the job offers to those applicants.
California: Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, Inc. to pay $99,500 to settle disability lawsuit. The telecommunications company was charged with terminating an employee out on a leave of absence for surgery.
The employee was on a leave of absence for surgery to remove a cancerous nodule from her thyroid. While recovering, the company fired her three weeks before she was scheduled to return from her leave. Time Warner failed to provide leave as reasonable accommodation and instead terminated the employee’s employment, despite knowing the employee had undergone surgery and was in recovery.
Arizona: Carondelet Health Network and Ascension Health to pay $545,000 to settle disability and pregnancy discrimination suit. The companies, which operate three other Arizona hospitals, discriminated against disabled employees and pregnant employees with pregnancy-related medical conditions.
The companies refused to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. The companies had a strict 90-day leave policy, and the companies would terminate employees who were unable to return to work after 90 days without considering reasonable accommodations that would allow them to return to work. In addition, the hospitals would also refuse accommodations to those with pregnancy-related medical conditions.
Arizona: Corizon Health Inc. and Corizon LLC to settle $950,000 nationwide disability discrimination lawsuit. Corizon, a prison health care provider, discriminated against employees with disabilities.
Corizon repeatedly failed to consider employee requests for reasonable accommodations and required employees with disabilities to be fully healed or to be without any medical restrictions before returning to work. Corizon terminated employees who had disabilities or needed accommodations who were unable to work under its 100% healed policy. Additionally, the company refused to promote a disabled employee for this reason.
Mississippi: Danny’s of Jackson, LLC to pay more than $3.3 million in race discrimination case. Danny’s of Jackson, LLC (doing business as Danny’s Downtown Cabaret) discriminated against employees by subjecting black dancers to discriminatory terms and conditions for years, including limiting shifts for the dancers, subjecting the dancers to racially offensive epithets, and providing the dancers with inferior working conditions.
A Mississippi jury found that the night club subjected black dancers to discriminatory terms and conditions of employment. Danny’s would limit the number of shifts black dancers could work and forced black dancers to work at another related club, Black Diamonds, despite knowing the dancers would be subject to arrest without being licensed to work at that club. The pay and working conditions were inferior to those of white dancers at Danny’s, and less security was provided for dancers at Black Diamonds. The dancers who refused to work at Black Diamonds were fined, sent home, and not allowed to work at Danny’s club.
Alabama: Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation to pay $50,000 to settle disability discrimination suit. Pilgrim’s Pride, the leading provider of poultry products in Alabama, fired an employee with a disability who requested leave for medical treatment.
Pilgrim’s Pride failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who had been absent from work due to his disability. The employee worked at the Alabama facility where he was granted a leave for heart surgery. When it was time for him to return to work, the company claimed he was not granted a leave and fired him for violating the company’s attendance policy.
Alabama: Master Marine, Inc. to pay $30,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The Gulf Coast shipbuilding company terminated Elskin Nye from his temporary assignment as a painter after finding out Nye filed an EEOC charge of discrimination against the company.
Nye went through a staffing company and was placed with Master Marine. Shortly after his assignment as a painter, Nye’s foreman informed him that he would be laid off. Nye learned from his foreman that management found out that he had “sued the company” and “cost the company a lot of money.” Nye was let go, although, six other painters were not terminated.
New York: Hyatt Corporation to provide $100,000 in pay and benefits to settle disability discrimination suit. The hotel denied accommodations to an employee who suffers from a chronic back impairment.
The employee requested a reasonable accommodation to allow him to sit on a chair while working at the front desk at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The hotel granted his request for only two weeks and later denied him the use of the chair, as it interfered with the employee’s performance. It was later found that the chair did not impair the employee’s performance.
Oregon: Scribe-X Northwest to pay $80,000 to settle pregnancy discrimination suit. The Portland-based medical documentation service company rejected an applicant once they learned she was pregnant.
Brittany Frisby applied online for a scribe position with Scribe-X. She received an offer of employment and completed all pre-hiring screens. She later told Scribe-X she was expecting to deliver her baby in a few months, and the CEO called to rescind the job offer. The company advised that Frisby should have notified them about her pregnancy, as she would not have been hired had the company known.Topics: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, EEOC, EEOC verdicts, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mississippi, New York, Oregon