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September 2019 Verdicts and Settlements

Published by on October 14, 2019

Our summary of recent verdicts and settlements for September 2019.

California: Jury awards former Los Angeles Times sports columnist $15.4 million in damages for discrimination based on his age and disability.

T.J. Simers had worked 22 years at the newspaper company before he was demoted. Simers was moved from columnist to writer after he had developed health problems. The issues began when he suffered a mini-stroke while covering baseball spring training in Arizona. After his health problems surfaced, his work came under increased criticism by the company’s top managers when they later took his column from him due to his supposed poorly written columns.

New York: United Parcel Service, Inc. to pay $2.25 million to settle pregnancy discrimination charge. The package delivery company would need to reimburse pregnant employees not granted accommodations that would have enabled them to work.

UPS had changed its policy and provided accommodations for those workers injured on the job and those with disabilities. However, light duty work was not available to pregnant employees. The agreement now is extended to pregnant employees in addition to unionized employees and non-unionized employees.

California: Marquez Brothers International and its affiliates will pay $2 million and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination suit. The company refused to hire Non- Hispanic applicants for unskilled positions. The applicants were discouraged by the company imposing a language requirement that was not required for the job. Previous affected applicants were encouraged to file a claim with the EEOC.

Florida: Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, Inc. to pay $375,000 to settle disability discrimination suit. The private community healthcare refused to provide leave as a reasonable accommodation to a class of employees.

Tallahassee Memorial maintained an inflexible 12-week maximum leave policy. When employees with disabilities requested additional leave, Tallahassee Memorial denied the requests and did not further engage with any individuals to look into accommodating.

Nevada: Entertainment Benefits Group to pay $925,000 for sexual harassment and disability suits. The Miami-based travel and entertainment company failed to accommodate employees with disabilities and did not take corrective action regarding sexual harassment. Entertainment Benefits retaliated against employees who requested accommodations and those who were associated with someone with a disability and/or someone who complained about harassment.

Hawaii: Blood Bank of Hawaii to pay $175,000 to settle discrimination suit. The Blood collection company terminated employees with disabilities.

Blood Bank of Hawaii did not provide disabled employees additional leave after the Family and Medical Leave requirement was up. The employees were required to return without limitation to the end of their leave. If the employee exhausted their medical leave or were unable to return to work without restrictions, the company would fire them.

Florida: Day & Zimmermann and M2 Services to pay $125,000 to settle pregnancy discrimination suit. The U.S. Military contractors company doing business as M2 Services Corporation has agreed to a settlement regarding discrimination charges against employee.

The M2 employee was an aircraft employee whom worked as a cleaner and responsible for cleaning aircraft parts. After she informed her employer that she was pregnant, the company placed her on involuntary and unpaid leave of absence so that she can return with medical authorization to work. Although she was cleared by her provider, M2 disallowed for her return and instead fired her.

New York: AZ Metro Distributors, LLC to pay $458,000 based on a jury verdict regarding two employees fired due to their age. Jury found that the defendant fired both Archibald Roberts and Cesar Fernandez on the same day.

Roberts and Fernandez were discriminated against because of their age and were discharged because the company wanted to hire younger salespeople. The company claims that Roberts and Fernandez were not discharged, but voluntarily resigned. Both employees were dedicated to their jobs and the jury understood that they were terminated unfairly.

California: Dignity Health to pay $570,000 to settle disability discrimination lawsuit. Dignity Health operates Mercy Medical Center located in Redding where they failed to accommodate a cafeteria employee who had survived an illness that left her with a left eye vision loss. After her successful rehabilitation, she returned to her employer informing them of what they can accommodate her to do her job duties. Instead of accommodations, they terminated her.

Tennessee: Garden Plaza at Greenbriar Cove to pay $92,000 to settle religious bias lawsuit. The retirement community owned by Century Park Associates, operates a senior and assisted living in the city of Ooltewah. The company allegedly discriminated against two employees by demanding that they work on their Sabbath.

Two members of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church observe Sabbath from Friday to Sunday. The employees offered to work on Sundays, although Century Park had told them that Saturdays is required as a part of a new work schedule. After the employees refused to work on Saturdays due to their religious beliefs, Century Park asked them to resign as they did per the company’s request.

Oklahoma: Burger King franchise to pay $30,000 to settle disability discrimination suit. The operators of the Burger King franchise withdrew a job to the applicant because he needed a job coach.

The applicant sought employment as a dining room and bathroom attendant. Due to the applicant’s intellectual and developmental disabilities, he was accompanied to his job interview by a representative who provides services to those with the disability. The franchisee, Travis County Investments, LP withdrew the job offer when the applicant had requested that he would need a job coach.

Tennessee: A Plus Care Solutions, Inc. to pay $200,000 for pregnancy disability discrimination suit. The company whom employs caregivers to work for their clients. A Plus terminated women at the fifth month of their pregnancy regardless of their ability to work.

A Plus has required its female employees to sign a policy during orientation regarding pregnancy. It stated that their employment would be terminated at the 5th month of their pregnancy, despite their ability to perform their job duties.

As part of the settlement, A Plus would rescind the pregnancy policy and hire a consultant to review and revise the company’s other current policies and procedures.

Michigan: Waterford School District to pay $107,000 to settle retaliation suit. The school district failed to recall teacher in retaliation for age discrimination.

A history and social studies teacher was subjected to a layoff. He felt that he was laid off due to his age and filed charges. Later, the school district recalled other teachers to work full time and hired other full-time history teachers excluding him. The former history teacher believes due to his complaints regarding age discrimination, that he was not called back to his position as the school.

Michigan: Belle Tire Distributors, Inc. to pay $55,000 to settle racial harassment and retaliation suit. The tire and wheels company’s store manager allegedly made racial comments and hateful remarks towards the only African American employee at the company. After the employee complained to human resources, Belle Tires terminated him.

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