Posted On: November 30, 2010

Marlow 6 Theater Settles ADA Lawsuit With EEOC for $20,000

Innershore Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Marlow 6 Theater, pays $20,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts the company unlawfully fired a concession manager because of her disability, Human Immunodeficiency Virus ("HIV"). The theater fired Robin C. Adams when the company became aware that she was HIV-positive. The Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual because of an actual disability or because he or she had a record of disability or was regarded as disabled.

This type of activity creates a hostile work environment and usually results in a company paying money to settle the lawsuit. It was be good of companies stopped being ignorant about HIV and instead educated management about the facts and allowed employees to do their job without fear and intimidation.

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said “It is illegal to treat employees or applicants based upon myths, fears and stereotypes about HIV and AIDS.”

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Posted On: November 29, 2010

ESI Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit For $95,000

ESI LA Corporation pays $95,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to details of the lawsuit a former truck driver, Ronald Harper, alleged IES violated the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") when it fired Harper because of his disability, dyslexia, even though Harper was able to perform the essential functions of his job. Specifically on the morning of August 12, 2005, Harper told his new supervisor that he is dyslexic. Approximately four hours later, the supervisor fired Harper, stating that he did not want to take the chance of Harper’s dyslexia causing him to see things “swirly” and have an accident.

After contending for five years that Harper did not have a disability and that he was not fired because of a disability, IES admitted shortly before the scheduled trial date that Harper does have a disability within the meaning of the ADA, that he was at all relevant times qualified to do his job, and that IESI did dismiss him because of his disability and in violation of federal law. It is hard to believe that IES took that long to admit what they did.

EEOC attorney Gregory Juge said, “This is a classic case of an employer firing a worker with a disability because of its own misconceptions. Employees with disabilities such as dyslexia are every bit as protected under the ADA as those with more obvious, visible impairments such as blindness or being in a wheelchair.”

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Posted On: November 23, 2010

Holiday Inn Sued for Sexual Harassment

Tamara Byrd and other female employees who worked at the Holiday Inn Express in Simpsonville had a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed on their behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit a new general manager who isn't named in the complaint, took over at the hotel and engaged in a pattern of harassing behavior toward Byrd and other female employees. The most troubling allegation was that two months after the manager was hired, Byrd was fired in retaliation for turning away repeated sexual advances including touching and complaining to company owners.

Byrd complained but the owners dismissed her complaints in one day without a thorough investigation. A week after she complained to corporate officials, the manager told Byrd that he had feelings for her and winked at her and Byrd was fired two days later. When a termination occurs a short time after complaining of discrimination or sexual harassment it is usually in retaliation for reporting the conduct.

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Posted On: November 22, 2010

Tony's Restaurant Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $75,000

Illinois based Tony’s Restaurant pays $75,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a teenaged hostess and two young female cooks who were subjected to sexual harassment. According to the lawsuit while working at Tony’s Restaurant, Kristie Comer, an 18-year-old high school student, was subjected to sexual harassment. The sexual harassment was perpetrated by Tony’s Lounge vice president, Michael Ventimiglia and included repeated unwelcome sexual advances, touching and sexually explicit comments. In addition to that sexual harassment Ventimiglia subjected at least two other young female employees to similar conduct.

Verntimiglia in no longer working for the company and as part of the settlement the company agreed not to rehire him. This is common in the settlement process and hopefully future employers will take note of this conduct. It is important that employers who hire young women, give extra training in sexual harassment to them and the men that supervise them. The young women need to know their rights and how to file a complaint without fear.

“Sexual harassment of teenage girls is a recurring problem in the restaurant industry,” said James R. Neely, Jr., EEOC attorney. Teenage girls and young women are particularly susceptible to sexual harassment and are frequently targeted by sexual predators."

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Posted On: November 21, 2010

EEOC Says Age Discrimination On the Rise

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") heard testimony that age discrimination is causing the nation’s older workers to have a difficult time maintaining and finding new employment, a problem exacerbated by the downturn in the economy. According to published numbers from the EEOC the number and percentage of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have grown, rising from 21.8 percent of all charges filed in 2006, to 24.4 percent in fiscal year 2009.

Another alarming statistic is that the rate of unemployment for people age 55 and over rose from a pre-recession low of 3.0 percent (November 2007) to reach 7.3 percent in August, 2010, making the past 22 months the longest spell of high unemployment workers in this age group have experienced in 60 years.

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Posted On: November 20, 2010

One Communications Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $66,000

One Communications Corp. will pay $66,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed after first trying to reach a settlement in the case. According to published accounts, the vice president of sales regularly subjected account executives Collin Buten, Alan Gordon and Marc Reinstein to harassment because of their religion, Judaism, at the company’s facility in Conshohocken, Pa.

The three employees complained to management about the discrimination, which included anti-Semitic remarks, but the company failed to take effective remedial measures to stop the offensive conduct. The religious harassment was so intolerable that Gordon was forced to quit, which is considered a constructive discharge.

“Unfortunately, the number of religious discrimination charges filed with the EEOC has increased dramatically over the last decade,” said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC.

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Posted On: November 18, 2010

Railroad Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $95,000

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company ("BNSF") pays $95,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two made ages 55 and 43. According to the lawsuit Jimmy Rider and Randy Aultman were not hired because of their age. Anyone who is over 40 is a member of a protected class and afforded protections based on age.

Because of the economy many employers are seeking out younger workers and cutting corners when it comes to following the law. Age Discrimination is real and seems to be on the rise as the country has a worker aged work force. It is very important to protect your rights and contact an attorney if you believe you are subject to discrimination.

“It is vitally important, especially given the current economic climate, to protect members of our work force from discrimination based on characteristics that have no correlation with job performance, such as age,” said EEOC Attorney Barbara Seely.

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Posted On: November 16, 2010

McDonald's Pays $50,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

McDonald’s pays $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The case involved an assitant manager sexually harassing a teenage female worker. According to published reports an assistant store manager made lewd comments to a teenaged crew member and touched, spanked and hugged him in a way that made him very uncomfortable.

The crew member was only 16-17 years of age when these incidences took place. This type of behavior can create a hostile work environment for all employees not just the one being harassed.

EEOC attorney Elizabeth Grossman said, “The EEOC takes very seriously allegations of sexual harassment involving teenagers because many of them are in the workplace for the first time and don’t know how to complain, especially when the harasser is their supervisor.”

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Posted On: November 14, 2010

Sexual Harassment Cases Increase In Illinois

My office is seeing an increase in the number of sexual harassment cases in Illinois, particularly in my Chicago office. There may be several reasons for the increase including the downturn in the economy and the pressure employees are feeling to go along with whatever is happening at work or else get fired. Because more of the sexual harassment takes place face-to-face and without witnesses it be extremely frustrating for those getting harassed. This harassment also creates a hostile work environment and can lead to a person quitting.

In Illinois you can file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Illiniois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). I prefer the IDHR as they are required by statute to complete their investigation within one year and seem to be better staffed and focused on investigating the complaint. Remember there are very strict time limits for filing and it is very important to contact my office at once to review the facts of your case.

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Posted On: November 13, 2010

Police Officer Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $750,000

The city of Concord California settles a sexual harassment lawsuit and will pay $250,000 to former police officer Lisa Capocci and $500,000 in legal fees to her attorney for a total settlement of $750,000. According to published accounts one of Capocci's supervisors, then-Cpl. Michael Hansen, made inappropriate sexual advances toward her. When she complained, Hansen and his colleagues in the department retaliated by filing a half-dozen groundless internal affairs investigations against her.

In probably the most troubling aspect of the case Capocci alleged other officers were slow to back her up on calls. Doing something like that could put her life in danger. After being stripped of her position as a K-9 officer, Capocci quit the department because of the hostile work environment. For the cities part they claim that the internal investigations against her were all legitimate. They point to the fact that Capocci posted pictures on Facebook of a trip to the county fair while she said she was out sick. I think paying that large amount however says it all.


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Posted On: November 12, 2010

Construction Company Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $125,000

Cobra Pavers & Engineering, Inc. and Cobra Construction, Inc., pay $125,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Published reports indicate that Cobra subjected female office employees to a hostile work environment and to sexual harassment. The sexual harassment included telling stories of sexual exploits, derogatory remarks about females, inappropriate sexual comments and engaging in unwelcome touching of a sexual nature by Cobra's managerial agents.

Even though there is constant publicity about sexual harassment and what not to do, there seems to be a never ending stream of cases. Industries that are dominated by males seem to have a hard time adjusting to females and to treating females with respect in the workplace. This type of settlement should send a message and make the owners and management take notice.

"Sexual harassment can never be tolerated in any workplace, and the construction industry is no exception," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg.

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Posted On: November 11, 2010

Guardsmark Pays $52,500 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Guardsmark LLC pays $52,500 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Danielle Jones and other female guards. According to published accounts Jones was not treated like the males guards because the company listened to customer preferences for male security guards and reassigned Jones and the other female guards to inconvenient, lesser-paying security guard posts.

Even though the company is in business to make money and to serve the needs of its' clients, the company may not engage in discriminatory conduct. This type of behavior is illegal and will end up costing the company cash and goodwill. It is very important to contact an employment lawyer if you believe you are the victim of discrimination in Illinois. This type of behavior can also create a hostile work environment and make the employees life miserable.

“This settlement serves as reminder to businesses that a customer’s preference to be staffed or served by workers of a particular gender is never an excuse to engage in illegal sex discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Jim Sacher.

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Posted On: November 10, 2010

Days Inn Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $50,000

Days Inn Hotel pays $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a spanish speaking female housekeeper. According to published accounts, a supervisor sexually harassed the housekeeper and when she complained to management they did nothing to stop it and even cut her hours.

The sexual harassment created a hostile work environment for the housekeeper. In the complaint it was alleged that the housekeeper was sexually assaulted, including being subjected to an attempted rape by a supervisor. This was a very serious sexual harassment case and I am glad the EEOC was able to help this woman and hold the company and supervisor accountable.

"The EEOC takes extreme forms of sexual harassment, like the attempted sexual assault in this case, extremely seriously," said Nedra Campbell, the EEOC attorney assigned to handle the case.

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Posted On: November 9, 2010

Cactus Grill Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $150,000

The Cactus Grill will pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit involving a former teenage employee. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female employee. According to published reports, an assistant manager asked the 18-year-old female server for sex, touched her and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her. It is also alleged that the Cactus Grill had received complaints about the assistant manager before and did nothing to correct or stop his behavior.

After the female reported the sexual harassment, she claims it did not stop and resulted in a hostile work environment. She felt unsafe and uncomfortable at work so she quit. When this happens it is called a constructive discharge and can be a separate discrimination complaint. Cactus Grill is owned by Northstar Inc.

“The young woman told the restaurant that she did not want to return to work,” said Paul Pautler, Northstar’s attorney.

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Posted On: November 5, 2010

School Head Investigated For Sexual Harassment

There has been an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by the head of a Gravesend primary school. According to published accounts, the Kent County Council is investigating a sexual harassment claim after a member of staff at Westcourt Primary School came forward with a sexual harassment allegation. The main piece of evidence seems to be an email that if confirmed could be trouble for the school chief. The emails came from Andrew Gould and to a female teacher. It says:

“slags me of (sic) one minute and as nice as pie the next... is it her whoremoans.”

There is not way this type of behavior can be condoned or that this person can keep his position if this email is confirmed. The Kent County Council would be wise to settle this case quickly and put the matter behind them. Sexual harassment cases that drag on and don't settle quickly just cost more in legal fees and also end up costing more in settlement fees.

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Posted On: November 2, 2010

Saline Township Illinois Responds To Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Attorneys for Saline Township are arguing that plaintiffs in six sexual harassment lawsuits filed against it and former Supervisor Alvin Steiner should have their claims dismissed. In those lawsuits the six plaintiffs are: Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Laura Barry, Ailie Ritchie, Tara Reding and Melanie Hedlun. All filed virtually identical claims.

But the six women who claim that Steiner sexually harassed and groped them counter that their replies to the motion to dismiss don't concede the case at all. According to published accounts the women claim that Steiner sexually harassed and touched them inappropriately when they came seeking public aid from Saline Township. Steiner has since resigned as township supervisor.

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Posted On: November 1, 2010

Northern Illinois Based Maxwell House Sued For Gender Discrimination

The Maxwell House Coffee headquartered in Northern Illinois is being sued for gender discrimination for subjecting a female employee at its Jacksonville, Fla., coffee plant to discriminatory terms and conditions. The company allegedly also disciplined and terminated Francena Smith on the basis of her gender. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Smith. According to published accounts Smith was disciplined more harshly that her male co-workers when they were involved in incidents where coffee was damaged, and was then fired because of her gender.

An arbitrator ordered Smith reinstated in March 2010, however she did not receive any monetary damages. This can happen with arbitration and it does not affect the ongoing litigation. It puts the company in a tough spot because they are being sued by a person who is working for them. This also can create a hostile work environment and can be tricky for the person who was just ordered back to work.

“Subjecting a person to different standards and discipline simply because of the person’s gender is just plain wrong,” said EEOC Acting District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas.

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