Posted On: May 31, 2010

Dollins Construction Pays $15,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") the Dollins Construction company punished black workers for complaining about a noose display and racist statements. According to the lawsuit Dollins violated federal law by racially harassing three African American construction workers and then engaging in retaliation against them when one complained.

Apparently the racial discrimination included the use of racially charged comments and the display of a noose. After they complained about the racial harassment they were not sent out on any further jobs, which is retaliation. As part of the settlement they will receive $15,000. Not only does this type of behavior cost the company money but I am sure it will cost them business with people who do not want to hire a company that allows this type of activity to take place.

“No matter how small an employer may be or how limited its resources, the EEOC will use the full measure of the law to eradicate racist displays from any place of employment,” said EEOC District Director James R. Neely, Jr.

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Posted On: May 30, 2010

Orkin Pest Control Getting Rid Of More Than Pests: Sued By EEOC For Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a religious discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a Thomas Kokezas claiming he was discriminated against because he wasn't a certain religion and because of his age. Additionally the EEOC said Orkin engaged in retaliation against an applicant who complained to the company’s corporate headquarters about the alleged discrimination.

The age discrimination lawsuit claims Orkin discriminated during the hiring process against Thomas Kokezas, as well as a class of individuals based on their age, over 40, or religion, non-Mormon. The lawsuit alleges Orkin advertised on Craig’s List for a recruiter to assist in hiring LDS missionaries for seasonal employ­ment and stating that the summer position was great for returned missionaries, who tend to be in their 20s. Under the law such advertising is illegal because it shows a preference for a particular religion, and also a preference for younger workers.

“Employers must be vigilant in providing equal employment opportunities for all applicants regardless of their age or religion,” said EEOC Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.

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Posted On: May 27, 2010

Creative Networks Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $110,000

Creative Networks will pay $110,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Rhonda Encinas-Castro. The lawsuit claims two coordinators at the company were the victims of retaliation for complaining about national origin and racial discrimination and participating in an investigation about both.

Details in the lawsuit claim that Castro went to the EEOC to file a charge of discrimination based on national origin and race. However, the company fired Castro about 14 days later. Also the executive director threatened to fire Kathryn Allen, who had never been disciplined for anything before, because she had been named as a witness in Castro’s discrimination charge. This type of behavior by a company is not only wrong but illegal. The company could not honestly believe they would get away with this type of discriminatory behavior.

"We will continue to vigorously protect employees who complain about discrimination or serve as witnesses to it because they are the lifeblood to effective enforcement." said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O'Neill

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Posted On: May 26, 2010

Two Transporation Companies Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit For $50,000

Amino Transport, Inc. and Chariot Express, Inc. will pay $50,000 to settle a retaliation, religious and pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Joshua Male. According to the lawsuit Male’s employer engaged in retaliation firing him because he had complained about workplace comments being made by two coworkers. The lawsuit also claims Male complained to the human resources ("HR") manager about persistent inappropriate jokes about Mormons, as well as workplace comments allegedly disparaging a pregnant female co-worker, women in general, and an African American.

The HR manager reported Male's complaints to the general manager of the facility, and Male was fired within less than 72 hours. This type of behavior is so obvious and it is amazing that companies still believe they can get away with treating people this way. It is nice to see people stand up for their rights and not let companies operate in this fashion.

“No one should lose his job for alerting human resources to inappropriate workplace behavior,” said EEOC attorney Jim Sacher.

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Posted On: May 25, 2010

City of Boone Sued For Age Discrimination By EEOC

The City of Boone, Iowa is being accused of violating federal law by hiring a 25-year-old rather than a more qualified 62-year-old because of his age prompting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") to file an age discrimination lawsuit. According to court documents, U.S. Navy veteran, Larry Cook was turned down for the new position of municipal infractions officer despite his extensive construction, electronic, communications and management experience. Instead, the city chose the youngest candidate, a 25-year-old with little relevant experience.

The EEOC is seeking back pay and liquidated damages for Cook as well as an order barring future discrimination. I believe the city was foolish for first engaging in age discrimination but also by not settling this case early in the process. Over 95% of all lawsuits settle before trial and in this case it seems a quick resolution to this lawsuit would have saved the taxpayers more money.

“Older workers, who have given so much to our American economy, don’t lose the right to earn a living because of their age,” said EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe

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Posted On: May 24, 2010

Pollard Agency Pays $49,000 To Settle Regligious Discrimination Lawsuit

The Pollard Agency pays $49,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Marian Lawson. According to the lawsuit, Lawson worked as a security guard and was fired because she wore a head scarf. According to Lawson's religious belief as a Mennonite Baptist, she is required to wear the head scarf.

According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must make reasonable accomodations for peoples religious beliefs and practices. In this case it would not have been difficult to allow Lawson to wear her scarf. The inflexibility of employers to make reasonable requests, will result in monetary settlements.

“This early settlement benefits everyone involved, especially Ms. Lawson, who can now put this episode behind her,” said Robert Dawkins, EEOC attorney.

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Posted On: May 23, 2010

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pays $250 Million In Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. must pay $250 million in punitive damages for a gender discrimination lawsuit. According to the lawsuit the company paid females less and failed to promote females that were pregnant. Treating pregnant females different than males or other females is illegal and called pregnancy discrimination. 5,600 eligible female class members could also be in line for compensatory damages as well as sharing in the punitive damages.

The Obama administration has taken a very aggressive stance on gender discrimination and equal pay issues. With huge jury verdicts like this, you can expect large companies to be taken to court if they are paying females workers less than their male counterparts. The downturn in the economy combined with social networking sites and online recruiting website allows people to follow pay issues more closely.

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Posted On: May 22, 2010

Cactus Grill Sued For Sexual Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of Amanda Heschmeyer against Cactus Grill Inc. According to the lawsuit an assistant manager at the restaurant asked 18-year-old Heschmeyer for sex, touched her and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her. Those types of actions create a hostile work environment and because of that type of environment, Heschmeyer was forced to quit her job which is known as constructive discharge.

The assistant manager no longer works for Cactus Grill Inc. and that will be bad news for the Cactus. The reason it is bad news, is because since he no longer works for the company, he is in a position to tell the truth and not worry about losing his job, since he already lost it. Many times companies end up in a bad position because the person who did the sexual harassment gets terminated and becomes a good witness for the complainant.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is always wrong, but harassment of teenage workers, who are often in their first ‘real’ job, is even more egregious,” said James Neely, EEOC district director.

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Posted On: May 21, 2010

Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders Sued For Sexual Harassment

Colleen Vesper filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Gary Moore and the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation. According to the lawsuit Moore and the Foundation made Vesper work in a hostile work environment after she refused Moore's sexual and romantic advances. Vesper had been the business manager of Fairmount Park until she lost her job last year. She claims the underlying sexual harassment issue led to the loss of her employment.

Prior to filing a lawsuit in either federal or state court, a person must first file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). It is nice to see people stand up and take a position and not let their bosses push them around. We wish Colleen Vesper the best.

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Posted On: May 20, 2010

Guard Awarded $49,000 In Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

The Pollard Agency pays $49,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was field by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Marian Lawson. According to the lawsuit the Pollard Agency discriminated against security guard Lawson by firing her rather than accommodating her religious practice. As part of her Memmonite Baptist religion she wore a head scarf.

It is amazing that a company would risk a lawsuit over something so small and petty. I am glad to see this woman stand up for herself and demand her rights. Hopefully, the company will learn a valuable lesson and not behave this way in the future. In Illinois, I see many companies act this way.

“The EEOC is pleased that Pollard chose to resolve the matter early and to take steps to ensure similar problems do not occur in the future.” said Robert Dawkins of the EEOC

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Posted On: May 19, 2010

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settled for $188,000 Against Kendall County Illinois Sheriff Department

Former Kendall County Illinois Sheriff's Department worker Lisa Easi will receive $188,000 to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit against Terry Tichava, the chief deputy in the Kendall County Sheriff's Department. Easi was a twenty year veteran of the department and was Tichava's secretary at the time she was fired.

This case was getting closer to trial and many times the defendant will start to look at the total amount it may have to pay if it losses at trial. Sexual Harassment lawsuits because of their emotional nature can produce large awards. Many times a defendant is not willing to risk the details of all the testimony coming out and the potential of a large jury verdict. With a settlement amount this large, the testimony must have been damaging and there was obviously something of substance to this lawsuit.

In Illinois before you file a sexual harassment lawsuit in fedearl court you must first file a claim of discrimination which includes sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). If you file with the IDHR they will automatically file with the EEOC.

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Posted On: May 18, 2010

University of New Hampshire Pays $220,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

The University of New Hampshire pays $220,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Amy Kallianpur, a former professor. According to the lawsuit, Kallianpur alleged she was the victim of sexual harassment by her boss, department Chairman Chuck Gross. She accused Gross of making sexually offensive statements such as repeatedly telling her that he loved her and demanding that she tell him that she loved him. Gross also allegedly made demands that they share a hotel room. Kallianpur first filed her complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and then filed a lawsuit in federal court.

Kallianpur complained to management about the sexual harassment and management refused to intervene and stop it. After Kallianpur complained Gross and the school engaged in retaliation against her by not renewing her contract. Gross no longer works at the University as he retired prior to the settlement of the lawsuit. It is always nice to see people stand up when they are being discriminated against.

"He threatened her by telling her a story about a student who intended to complain against him, and how he preempted her complaint by giving her a failing mark so as to damage her credibility," the lawsuit said.

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Posted On: May 17, 2010

Kentucky Fried Chicken Pays $1 Million To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Kentucky Fried Chicken will pay 19 female employees more than $1 million to a settle sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 19 female workers. Looks like they were frying more than chicken at this place.

According to the lawsuit male employees openly described sexual desires and interests with female employees and engaged in unwelcome sexual touching and groping. What is really shocking is that three of the women were teenagers at the time. Paying this large amount of money will make the owners think long and hard about how they operate their business in the future.

"The allegations in this case were shocking," said EEOC District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas.

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Posted On: May 16, 2010

Illinois Business Owner Pays $49,000 In Sexual Harassment Case

Ferdinarn Wilhelm who owns Decatur Rentals must pay $49,000 after a hearing in a sexual harassment case before the city's Human Relations Commission. The commission found Wilhelm guilty of sexual harassment against former employee Sally Nailer. During the trial it was alleged Wilhelm repeatedly sexually harassed her and other female employees. The settlement amount was broken down as $10,000 in back pay, $25,000 in emotional damages, and nearly $14,000 in attorney's fees.

Nailer worked for Wilhelm as a secretary and according to testimoney, Nailer accused Wilhelm of feigning a severe injury in order to force her to essentially act as a nurse. This nurse care included dressing him, cooking all of his meals and making trips to his house in the middle of the night for odd or seemingly unnecessary requests. At the same time this was going on, Nailer claims Wilhelm made sexual comments and unwanted sexual advances toward her. There were over ten witnesses that testified in this case.

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Posted On: May 13, 2010

Edinboro University Pays $495,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania pays $495,000 to Cameron Aulnero a former student to settle his sexual harassment lawsuit. According to the lawsuit Aulnero was sexually harassed by a professor and university officials knowingly allowed the sexual harassment to continue. Details of the lawsuit include professor William Chandler, who died in December, asking Aulnero out on dates and making references to the movie Brokeback Mountain, suggesting Aulner and a classmate were in a homosexual relationship.

Aulnero claims the sexual harassment made him fear for his grade in the class and that he suffered depression, anger and anxiety as a result of the harassment. I am seeing more and more cases of sexual harassment in a University setting. Professor's have a great deal of power and influence over their students. In this case, the professor used his position of power to try to manipulate the student, but in the end the student prevailed. The University should take a hard look at its' policy on sexual harassment and treat complaints in a more professional and serious manner. Good for Mr. Aulnero for standing up for himself and making the University account for itself.

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Posted On: May 11, 2010

Western State Hospital Pays $995,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Jackie Delgado a former Western State Hospital employee who alleged she was a victim of sexual harassment settled her lawsuit with her former employer for $995,000. According to terms of the settlement the state Department of Social and Health Services ("DSHS") and the Washington Federation of State Employees will each put in money to settle the lawsuit. DSHS says the state will pay $795,000 and the union will pay $200,000.

Delgado filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment against the state, the union and former hospital risk manager Barrette Green. She claimed Green sexually harassed her for years and the state did nothing about it despite repeated complaints against him. Her allegations included that Green pressured her into a sexual relationship, made unwanted comments at work about her body and once pointed an unloaded gun at her and pulled the trigger three times. It is amazing that a person like Green was able to keep his job as long as he did. This kind of behavior is not only wrong it is scarey.

"I’m glad it’s over,” “I definitely didn’t win, but I got to end it.” Delgado said

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Posted On: May 10, 2010

Car Dealer Pays $132,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Thomas Dodge paid $132,250 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of female employees who claimed offensive touching, degrading and sexually explicit comments and pornographic images. According to the lawsuit the females reported the sexual harassment and unprofessional conduct to management but no corrective action was taken. Some of the female employees who complained were terminated and others were forced to resign. Those would be examples of retaliation and constructive discharge.

It is amazing that so many women could come forward and complain and management would do nothing to stop the harassment. Management in this case even went a step further and punished the women for complaining.

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Posted On: May 9, 2010

Everdry Marketing Pays $471,096 In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Everdry Marketing and Management, a dry wall company, had a jury rule against them and award $471,096 in damages for a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 13 female workers. The case concerned a prolonged period of physical and verbal sexual harassment of mostly teenage telemarketers by male managers and co-workers at Everdry’s Rochester, N.Y., location. According to the lawsuit the sexual harassment included repeated demands for sex, frequent groping, sexual jokes and constant comments about the bodies of women employees. On one occasion, a male manager requested sex from a teenager with the promise of a raise if she consented.

This is a follow-up article to the May 6, 2010 article written about this case. The amounts of money involved and the number of teenagers involved make this case worth mentioning twice. Hopefully the company will institute some real changes in the workplace.

“Many of the victims in this case were young and especially vulnerable,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.

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Posted On: May 8, 2010

Eagle Wings Industries Pays $428,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Eagle Wings Indusdries which is an automotive supplier pays $428,500 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of three female employees. One of the female employees Kimberly Bridgman alleged comments directed at her were lewd and included a request for oral sex in exchange for a transfer. This type of sexual harassment is referred to as quid quo pro and is latin for 'this for that". Another words, the requesting party was asking for something in return for something.

You can see how expensive the bad behavior of an employee can be. It is extremely important that employers take sexual harassment complaints seriously and train employees properly on what behavior is acceptable in the workplace. In this case Bridgman took disability leave because of the sexual harassment and when she returned to work the conduct continued forcing her to take leave again. This time when she tried to return to work, Eagle Wings refused to reinstate her unless she agreed to undergo a battery of psychological examinations. At this point she claimed to be constructively discharged and filed the lawsuit. Constructive discharge occurs when the employer sets forth conditions which if aren't met require the employee to stay off work.

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Posted On: May 7, 2010

Bon Appetit to pay $22,500 in Settlement of Charge of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

A cashier and part-time cook at Bon Appetit alleged she was sexually harassed by her general manager Leslie Simmonds. She alleged the sexual harassment included being asked for sex, inappropriate comments and making her read a pornographic story he had written. The story was very detailed and very sexual. As a result of this behavior the female filed a sexual harassment complaint and settled her complaint for $22,500. The retaliation portion of her complaint arose after she rejected his sexual advances, and Simmonds retaliated by treating her poorly, and requested that she be transferred to his location.

She complained to Bon Appetit's district manager and provided a detailed account of the sexual harassment she had experienced. The district manager denied the harassment and stated that she had engaged in unacceptable behavior. Subsequently a raise she had been set to receive was revoked, and she was excluded from meetings. She resigned, believing that she had no choice and that her employer's treatment constituted a constructive discharge. It still amazes me that so many people in upper management take the approach of shooting the messenger instead of doing a proper investigation and resolving the problem. In this case Bon Appetit got off cheap.

Continue reading " Bon Appetit to pay $22,500 in Settlement of Charge of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation " »

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Posted On: May 6, 2010

Everdry Marketing Pays Almost $500,000 In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Everdry Marketing and Management Inc. pays $471,096 in damages and $86,581 in post-judgment interest to 13 victims of sexual harassment. According to the complaint, there was a prolonged period of physical and verbal sexual harassment of telemarketers, most of whom were teenagers, by male managers and co-workers at Everdry’s office. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed the complaint on behalf of the female workers.

Cases like this show what can happend when people are put in charge of workers and don't have the proper training. It would be impossible to sexually harass 13 women without people realizing what is going on. Look how much money this type of behavior cost the company. It would make more sense to just properly train and manage your people.

“The 13 women in this case had to endure vicious sexual harassment and then live it again through their testimony in pre-trial depositions and the trial,” said Robert Rose, the supervisory trial attorney for EEOC.

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Posted On: May 4, 2010

Poplar Springs Nursing Center Pays $40,000 To Settle Age Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Poplar Springs Nursing Center pays $40,000 to settle an age discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")According to the lawsuit, Poplar Springs discriminated against Gloria Carey, a 53-year-old black female, by denying her a social worker position because of her age and her race.

The amazing fact was Carey’s 27-plus years of experience as a social worker. Even with tis amount of time Poplar Springs refused to consider her for the position. Instead a less qualified 34-year-old white female was the only candidate interviewed and then hired. This shows that even though you don't have a document saying I won't hire you because of your race or age, circumstances can be utilized to prove your case.

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Posted On: May 2, 2010

Woman Gets $35,00 In Americans With Disabilities Act Lawsuit

A woman who alleged she was subjected to discrimination because she has multiple sclerosis settled her lawsuit for $35,000. Jill Roberts complained to the company, Mannatech about her problem and nothing was done to correct it so she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against Mannatech Inc, claiming the company had turned her down for a job assignment because of her disability. Roberts alleged she was also denied the reasonable accommodation of as-needed restroom breaks, and as a result was denied the assignment at the company's call center in Copell. The lawsuit claimed violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

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