EEOC employment lawyers busy this month on employment discrimination
EEOC lawyers have had a busy September starting and settling employment discrimination lawsuits. The EEOC accepts charges of employment discrimination in Fort Worth and Dallas at the Dallas, Texas office. Employment lawyers in Fort Worth and Dallas represent employees in these types of employment discrimination lawsuits. The following is just the listing of the EEOC activity reported in the last ten days. This is a large number of cases for the employment discrimination agency. Although these are not all Texas employment discrimination cases, they reflect the larger activities of the EEOC.
A review of these employment discrimination lawsuits by the EEOC shows a large number of disability discrimination lawsuits. It is not clear that EEOC lawyers decided to focus on disability discrimination; it may merely be the EEOC received a large number of disability discrimination charges unresolved from earlier stages.
Sexual harassment and retaliation at Chipotle
The EEOC filed suit against Chipotle for sexual harassment and retaliation. According to the EEOC, a male shift manager was verbally and sexually harassed by the female general manager. After he reported the conduct to upper management, the general manager retaliated against him. This case illustrates that sexual harassment is not always male on female. The EEOC reports over 16% of sexual harassment complaints come from men.
Sexual harassment and retaliation at coffee roasting company
The EEOC filed a lawsuit this month against coffee roaster Massimo Zanetti, alleging it failed to stop sexual harassment of a female employee and subsequently fired her for complaining about the harassment. The female employee alleged she endured sexual comments, gestures and requests for sex. She complained but the company took no action. After her third complaint about sexual harassment the employer fired her for an alleged performance issue. The EEOC contends the performance issue was pretext for the wrongful termination.
EEOC settles religious accommodation suit with donut chain
EEOC employment lawyers settled a religious accommodation lawsuit with a Tim Hortons franchisee. An employee requested a religious accommodation to wear a skirt instead of pants on the basis of her religious beliefs. Instead of granting the accommodation the employer fired her. As part of the EEOC settlement the employer will pay a sum of money to the fired employee. Additionally it must train its managers on discrimination prohibited by Title VII.
EEOC sues fashion chain for racial discrimination and national origin discrimination
The EEOC charged a sports fashion chain with over twenty locations with racial discrimination and national origin discrimination. EEOC lawyers allege the company refused to hire African American and Latinos into management positions, favoring Korean employees. The EEOC’s investigation found the employer mostly hired African American and Latino employees but rarely promoted them to management. Company officials conceded they held negative stereotypes about these groups for management roles. The use of racial and ethnic stereotypes to make employment decisions is a form of employment discrimination prohibited by Title VII under federal law and the Texas Labor Code under Texas employment law.
EEOC sues staffing company for disability discrimination for pre-offer medical questionnaires and screening
EEOC lawyers charged a staffing company with disability discrimination for requiring applicants to fill out an invasive medical questionnaire and answer medical questions before extending job offers. The company subsequently denied job opportunities on the basis of answers. The medical questionnaires inquired about medications, histories of illnesses and injuries.
While asking about an employee’s fitness for duty is not itself a form of disability discrimination, questions can easily overstep the legal boundaries. Particularly, histories of past illnesses and disabilities have no relevance to the applicant or employee’s current ability to perform the essential functions of a job. Moreover, an employee’s existing disabilities or perceived disabilities cannot form the basis of an adverse employment action unless the disability, even with a reasonable accommodation, would prevent the employee from performing the essential functions of the job.
Collection agency sued by EEOC lawyers for sexual orientation discrimination
EEOC lawyers sued an employer for subjecting an employee to harassment because of his sexual orientation. The EEOC alleges the employee suffered unwelcome and offensive comments from supervisors and coworkers. The EEOC asserts sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. Sexual orientation discrimination often involve sex and gender stereotyping as well as directly discriminating on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination are unlawful under Title VII and the Texas Labor Code.
EEOC sues for age discrimination and disability discrimination
EEOC lawyers filed suit against an electric company that failed to hire an applicant on the basis of age and disability. A seventy-four year old employee took approved medical leave for cancer and a hip fracture. After release to return to work the employer wrongfully terminated him. The EEOC lawyers assert the employer refused to reinstate the employee on the basis of his age and disability when it insisted he retire instead of reinstating him. The employment discrimination lawsuit seeks money for the employee and injunctive relief.
Sexual harassment suit against IHOP by EEOC
EEOC attorneys filed suit against two IHOP franchises, alleging a male general manager and two cooks sexually harassed several female employees and another male general manager sexually harassed a male employee.
In total, the lawsuit alleges twelve employees were subjected to unwanted and offensive sexual harassment that included sexual comments, touching, requests for sex and threatening gestures. One of the female employees the suit alleges suffered sexual harassment was a seventeen year old who was forced to quit due to the shocking behavior. The owner and managers knew about the pervasive sexual harassment but refused to investigate or take action to stop it.
Dallas, Texas medical practice sued for religious discrimination and retaliation
EEOC lawyers filed suit against Dallas area medical practice, Shepherd Healthcare, a medical practice in Lewisville, Texas. The EEOC lawsuit alleges the employer fired the employee for requesting to be excused from daily morning Bible study along with three other employees fired in retaliation for opposing compulsory Bible study and other mandatory religious practices. The EEOC alleges the employer conducted mandatory daily meetings that began with Bible study. A Buddhist employee requested to be excused from the religious portion of the daily meetings. Her request was denied and she was fired the next day. Three other employees were fired for expressing objections to the mandatory religious meetings.
Forcing employees to participate in religious practices at work is an unlawful form of religious discrimination under Title VII and the Texas Labor Code. Even if an employee agrees with the religious beliefs of an employer’s ownership or management, the employee may suffer discrimination for not wanting to participate in expressing or observing that belief at work. Similarly, employers may not retaliate against employees for declining to participate in religious practices at work.
EEOC sues a nursing home for racial discrimination
EEOC attorneys sued a nursing home for following resident requests for non-black caregivers when it made job assignments. It also, the EEOC alleges, subjected black employees to racial harassment. According to the lawsuit, the employer prohibited black employees from entering certain resident rooms and used racial slurs against those employees. Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race in making job assignments for employees. It also prohibits racial harassment in the workplace.
EEOC sues an oil and gas company for disability discrimination
EEOC lawyers sued an oil and gas company that fired an employee who sought help from the employee assistance program for situational depression. The employee sought help from the employer’s EAP. The employer subsequently perceived him as disabled although he was able to perform the essential functions of his job without restriction. The company did not perform any individualized assessment of his mental impairment to determine if he was unable to perform the essential functions of the job. The employer also forced the employee to seek a medical release to return to work. The EEOC asserts this independently constituted an illegal medial inquiry.
Employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of a perceived disability. An employee who is not disabled as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may still suffer disability discrimination if the employer perceives the employee to have a disability and act adversely on the basis of that perception.
Restaurants sued for sexual harassment and retaliation by the EEOC
EEOC lawyers sued a restaurant for sexual harassment and retaliation of a server. The EEOC lawsuit alleges a female server suffered sexual harassment by another server including unwelcome sexual comments, propositions and touching. She complained to management but the employer did not act adequately to address the complaints. Later, during a company meeting the same server objected to racial slurs used by coworkers. Weeks later, she was fired. The EEOC alleges the reason for termination was pretext for retaliation. The company meeting was a result of a separate EEOC lawsuit against the restaurant chain for failing to hire African American applicants on the basis of race that resulted in a $1.9 million settlement.
Another IHOP lawsuit for sexual harassment and retaliation
EEOC lawyers filed a separate suit against other IHOP franchisees for failing to prevent and correct sexual harassment and retaliation against employees. According to the EEOC lawsuit, the franchise management failed to take action when they learned about sexual harassment of workers and subsequently retaliated against some of the employees who complained. Management retaliated by cutting hours and terminating employees. Title VII and the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers from allowing sexual harassment to fester in the workplace and retaliating against employees who complain.
EEOC lawsuit for racial harassment against fence installation company
EEOC sued a fence installation company for creating a hostile work environment that included racial slurs and hanging a noose around African American employees. The EEOC alleges the company knew of the offensive harassment but failed to act to stop it. Employers have duty to take action to stop racial harassment in the workplace under Title VII.
EEOC lawsuit against oil and gas operations company for disability discrimination
EEOC lawyers allege a global oil and gas operations company denied employment to an applicant with diabetes on the basis of his disability. The applicant had experience performing the same job duties for another related employer without incident. Nevertheless, the employer required the applicant to complete a job applicant and undergo a physical examination to maintain employment in the same role at the same location. After the examination the employer decided it would not hire the applicant as a risk issue. The EEOC alleges the employer violated the ADA by refusing to hire the applicant on the basis of a disability although he was able to perform the essential function of the job.
EEOC lawsuit against casino for disability discrimination
Attorneys for the EEOC sued a casino for disability discrimination when it refused an employee’s request for medical leave for cancer treatment and then fired him. The employee requested medical leave for a few weeks for cancer-related surgery. The employer denied the request and subsequently fired him. A request for medical leave can be a reasonable accommodation to a disability. Denying the request without considering the employee’s need for a reasonable accommodation may violate the ADA.
Dallas, Texas EEOC sues Lowes for disability discrimination in Cleburne, Texas
The Dallas EEOC office filed suit against Lowe’s Companies hardware stores for refusing to accommodate a department manager with a disability in its Cleburne, Texas location. Lowe’s then demoted the employee to a lower position. The EEOC alleges the employee suffers a disability due to a spinal injury that limits use of one of his arms. He worked as a department manager for six years and delegated tasks requiring power tools that need use of both arms to employees under his supervision. Lowe’s told him he could not do this anymore and demoted him. As a result, his pay was significantly reduced.
This alleged conduct violates the ADA which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of a disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to allow employees access to the worksite and to perform the essential functions of the job. Lawyers for the EEOC allege the employer failed to engage the employee to determine the need for accommodation and institute a reasonable accommodation.
EEOC sues home care provider for disability discrimination
EEOC lawyers sued a home-based care provider for discriminating against an employee for pretextually firing him for his disability. According to the lawsuit, the employee disclosed he suffers from HIV and medication he takes for the illness interfered with a drug screening. The results of a drug test showed he might use illegal drugs. A second test definitively ruled out drug use but the employer nevertheless fired the employee for drug use. The EEOC alleges the termination for drug use was pretext to fire the employee for his medical condition. Employers may not terminate employees for a disability under the ADA.
EEOC sues Hertz for disability discrimination
The Denver EEOC office alleges Hertz refused to hire an applicant for a mobility impairment. The EEOC alleges the Denver employer recruited an employee for a car sales position. After an interview, the manager was concerned the applicant used a cane. Although the applicant was highly qualified, Hertz hired two other people with less experience. The EEOC alleges the employer made hiring decisions on the basis of the disability. That is an unlawful form of disability discrimination. Looking for a labor and employment law attorney in Denver, Colorado?
Restaurant chain sued by EEOC for refusing to hire an applicant who needed a religious accommodation
EEOC attorneys sued a restaurant chain that refused to hire a female employee who requested to wear a skirt instead of pants in accordance with her religious beliefs. The restaurant requires servers to wear jeans as part of their uniform. The applicant’s religious beliefs prohibit women from wearing pants. The owner refused to accommodate this religious belief by allowing the applicant to wear skirts and subsequently refused to hire her.
EEOC sues Dollar General for disability discrimination and genetic information discrimination
EEOC lawyers sued Dollar General for disability and genetic information discrimination in hiring practices. The EEOC alleges the retail chain rescinded job offers to applicants when post-offer medical exams showed disabilities. The medical exams also unlawfully solicited family medical history which is a form of genetic information. The company imposed medical standards to screen out people with disabilities even when they would not prevent applicants from safely performing job duties. Employers may not use medical examinations as a mechanism to eliminate disabled applicants from their employee pool. This is a form of unlawful disability discrimination under the ADA.
EEOC sues convenience store chain for pregnancy discrimination and disability discrimination
Lawyers for the EEOC sued a convenience store chain in Texas and other states for discriminating against pregnant mothers. The EEOC suit alleges managers and area supervisors subjected pregnant employees to different working conditions because of their pregnancies and pregnancy-related disabilities. These included less favorable job assignments and shifts, coupled with harassing comments about their pregnancies.
The EEOC also alleges the chain denied reasonable accommodations to employees with pregnancy-related disabilities, instead placing them on involuntary unpaid leave. The chain would not provide extended leave to pregnant employees on bed rest or accommodate physical activities at work. The EEOC also alleged the chain had a policy of limiting medical leave to pregnant mothers and firing them when they could not return to work.
Pregnancy discrimination is an unlawful form of sex discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of a pregnancy-related disability is an unlawful form of disability discrimination.
EEOC sues candy manufacturer for disability discrimination
EEOC lawyers allege a candy manufacturer discriminated against an employee when it fired him for a medical condition it stated made him unqualified to perform his job. In determining that he posed a risk to the safety of himself and others, the company discounted opinions of the employee’s physician and the employee’s job experience with the employer. Employers cannot assume a medical condition poses a risk to the employee or others. They must make individualized assessments on objective evidence.
EEOC sues Whataburger for retaliation against manager who refused a whites-only hiring policy
According to the EEOC lawsuit, general and area managers in a region of stores demanded a white restaurant manager hire only white applicants. He was instructed to review applications and only interview people with names that sound white. The manager refused and was subjected to retaliation including verbal abuse, threats, shift changes and unwarranted discipline. Ultimately the manager resigned. The EEOC alleges this conduct violates Title VII which prohibits retaliation for opposing unlawful discriminatory practices.
EEOC sues healthcare provider for pregnancy discrimination
EEOC lawyers sued a healthcare provider for firing an employee who asked for accommodations for her pregnancy and disability-related medical restrictions. The EEOC alleges an employee requested light duty work because of a restricted ability to lift although light duty tasks were available to employees injured on the job. They did not provide her with requested medical leave. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers must extend the same accommodations to pregnant employees as other employees with similar medical limitations.
EEOC sues BCBS of Texas for disability discrimination
Dallas, Texas EEOC lawyers allege Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas violated the ADA by refusing the provide a reasonable accommodation to a hearing-impaired applicant during the application process. The EEOC alleges a deaf applicant applied online for a job with BCBS of Texas and in return received instructions for an online assessment that includes an audio portion. She could not complete the assessment due to the audio portion. There were no captions or visual accommodations. The applicant contacted BCBS of Texas to request an accommodation. The company failed to accommodate and ultimately BCBS of Texas did not hire her. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants.
Dallas, Texas EEOC sues CBS stations group for age discrimination
Dallas EEOC lawyers sued the local CBS stations group for age discrimination when it refused to hire a full time traffic reporter because of her age. According to the EEOC lawsuit, a well-qualified applicant applied for the position of full time traffic reporter. She was over the age of forty. CBS instead hired two younger employees who were not qualified for the position based upon the application requirements. The EEOC attorneys handling the lawsuit allege the station group desired a younger applicant and relied upon age-based stereotypes to decline employment to the applicant.
EEOC sues Walmart for disability discrimination
EEOC attorneys sued retail giant Walmart for disability discrimination when it failed to accommodate an employee’s disability. The EEOC alleges an employee with visual and auditory disabilities worked for the company for sixteen years before running into problems with a new manager. In the first month with the new manager the manager suspended the employee and forced him to submit medical paperwork to keep existing accommodations. After submitting paperwork the store cut off communication. The company extended the suspension until new and unnecessary requests for accommodations were received; however, by cutting off communication the store made it difficult to provide.
EEOC sues hospital for disability discrimination
EEOC lawyers sued a hospital that failed to transfer an employee to a vacant position for which she was qualified. According to the EEOC lawsuit, the employee had an indefinite lifting restriction. The employer required her to take leave at reduced pay. It refused to transfer her to a vacant position. The EEOC alleges the employer discriminated against the employee and refused a reasonable accommodation.
EEOC sues for pregnancy discrimination
EEOC attorneys sued a manufacturer for pregnancy discrimination when it fired a pregnant employee instead of provide an accommodation. According to the EEOC, the employer required an employee to perform a work task that conflicted with pregnancy-related restrictions. The employer fired her for not performing the task. This conduct is unlawful pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC alleges the employer may not treat pregnant employees less favorable in this manner.
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