October 5, 2012

A Hampton Inn Franchise Pays $85,000 To Settle A Discrimination Lawsuit

A Hampton Inn owned and operated by Century Shree Corporation, pays $85,000 to settle a national origin and racial discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts the company illegally terminated employees beginning in August 2009 because of their race, Caucasian, and national origin, non-Hispanic. You don't really see this type of discrimination case very often.

An entire class of employees, including Wendy Buckley, Ashlee Flannery and Dewetta McKnight, were discharged from the Craig Hampton Inn because management of the company subscribed to stereotypes that white or non-Hispanic workers were indolent. This is sometime referred to reverse discrimination because traditional discrimination involved minorities being the victims of discriminatory conduct. This case highlights that white workers have protection under the discrimination laws in Illinois and under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"An employer cannot discharge or refuse to hire an individual based on derogatory stereotypical beliefs about that person's race or national origin." said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O'Neill
September 21, 2012

Delano Regional Medical Centers Pays $975,000 To Settle A Discrimination Lawsuit

Delano Regional Medical Center ("DRMC") pays $975,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of approximately 70 Filipino-American hospital workers. When you get this large a number of people involved in a settlement the numbers start to get big. The lawsuit was based on national origin and the discrimination occured in the highest levels of management.

According to published accounts Filipino-American hospital workers, mostly nursing staff, alleged that they were the targets of harassing comments, undue scrutiny and discipline particularly when speaking with a Filipino accent or in Filipino languages. Staff constantly made fun of their accents, ordering them to speak English even when they were already speaking in English. Some Filipino-American workers endured humiliating threats of arrest if they did not speak English and were told to go back to the Philippines.

This created a hostile work environment for the workers. To make matters worse, there was a meeting in which the chief executive officer and hospital management called only Filipino-American staff to a meeting and threatened them about the consequences of not complying with the hospital's English-only language policy. These crazy managers even threated to install surveillance equipment to monitor their conversations. Talk about some real odd ducks. These people sound like they need their head examined.

"Employees should never be targeted because of their national origin or language." said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez

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August 7, 2012

Caldwell Freight Lines Inc. Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $120,000

Caldwell Freight Lines, Inc. pays $120,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of black applications who did not get hired. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The main case involved Caldwell not hiring black applicants because of their race, African-American. Illinois recognizes three races for the purposes of racial discrimination, white, black and Asian. Many people think Hispanic is also a category for the purpose of racial discrimination but it isn't. If you are being discriminated against because you are Hispanic, you would have to file a lawsuit based on National Origin or Ancestry.

According to published accounts Caldwell had vacancies for dock workers and accepted applications from approximately 51 individuals. Several black applicants had dock worker experience and were qualified for the job but were not hired. Instead Caldwell hired whites and other non-blacks for the jobs. What was probably the final nail in the coffin for the company was that a high level manager at the facility commented that he “didn’t want any blacks on the dock.” And finally, no blacks were employed as dock workers at the facility during the time this all took place. This would indicate something was amiss.

“Unfortunately, race discrimination in hiring continues despite the passage of Title VII nearly 50 years ago, and African-Americans are often the victims.” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes
August 6, 2012

Morningside House Settles Religious Discrimination Case For $25,000

In an unusual case, Morningside House pays $25,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. This lawsuit was the result of a Muslin not removing her hijab and therefore not getting hired for the job. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). This could have also been a lawsuit involving national origin discrimination because of the what company did, but because the hijab is part of a religious practice, it fell under religious discrimination. In Illinois you could also file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") for both national origin and religious discrimination.

According to published accounts the director of health and wellness asked Khadijah Salim if she would be willing to remove her hijab if she were hired. The director expressed concerns that if she were hired, the hijab may interfere with her ability to work as a certified nursing assistant. However, Salim said she had worn her hijab throughout her nursing training, which included working in the operating room, and it had never interfered with her ability to perform her duties. This would indicate that there wasn't a problem with wearing the hijab. As you can guess she wasn't hired and the discrimination lawsuit was filed. It seems to me there was a different issue involving her being a Muslim.

“In this case, there was no undue hardship to the employer -- just an apparent overreaction to a reasonable request because of myths and stereotypes about a religion,” said EEOC Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
July 5, 2012

Sewing Company Settles National Origin Lawsuit For $75,000

B.J. Con/Sew Corporation pays $75,000 to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit. Apparently the company sewed itself into a corner and ended up having a lawsuit filed against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC'). According to documents which have been made public the company subjected an employee to harassment because of his Hispanic national origin. In Illinois Hispanic is not recognized as a race so you have to file under national origin, color or ancestry. The only three races which are recognized in Illinois are white, black and asian.

In this case the employee, Jason Ramirez, was forced to resign after the company failed to address multiple complaints that Ramirez made about the harassment. This is referred to as a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge occurs when working conditions get so bad any reasonable person would quit. It is treated the same as being fired for purposes of discrmiination claims. Ramirez, who has one Hispanic parent, was subjected to the harassment on a near-daily basis for two-years.

“There is no place for harassment of any kind in any workplace.” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes

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May 22, 2012

Gaurdsmark Pays $25,000 To Settle A Retaliation Lawsuit

Guardsmark pays $25,000 to settle a national origin and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a security guard from East India. According to published accounts a co-worker would repeatedly make derogatory comments about the East Indian guard and also make comments about the mans age--66. This type of activity is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

It is further alleged that Guardsmark not only ignored the employee’s reports of discrimination, but engaged in retaliation against him with an involuntary transfer. You cannot take a negative job action against an employee who complains of discrimination. In this case that is exactly what Guardsmark did. In my opinion the company got off with paying a minimal amount of money. They are very lucky they settled when they did. If the guard was successful at trial he could be awarded his attorney fees which would be substantial by the time this case went to trial.

“I am glad I reported my case to the EEOC and glad to put this behind me,” said the former security guard. “I hope my case will help others understand that an employer has an obligation to ensure a workplace free of harassment.”
May 9, 2012

$50,000 Settlement By Four Points Sheraton Hotel In Discrimination Lawsuit

Four Points by Sheraton hotel pays $50,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of employee Basil Massih. According to published accounts, the company subjected Massish to a hostile work environment because of his Iraqi national origin. In fact the harassment got so bad that he had to resign his position which is also known as a constructive discharge.

The alleged harassment included mimicking Massih’s accent and mocking Arab vocal expressions. I know this sounds like such childish behavior but who would want to come into work each day and put up with this. To make matters worse he had to endure ethnic slurs such as “camel jockey”; and taunting and jeering at Massih relating to news stories about Iraq and the capture of terrorists. Massih complained to management but nothing was done to stop the harassment. I bet they take this type of behavior more serious now

“Employers have an affirmative duty to protect employees from discrimination and national origin harassment.” said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O’Neill
March 7, 2012

Rugo Stone LLC Settles A Discrimination Lawsuit For $40,000

Rugo Stone, LLC, pays $40,000 to settle a national origin discrimination, religious discrimination and color discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count discrimination lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Shazad Buksh. According to published accounts Buksh was an estimator and assistant project manager for Rugo Stone, and was subjected to derogatory comments from his supervisors, project manager and the company’s owner. All of these discriminatory comments were based on his national origin which was Pakistani, his religion which was Islam, and color which was brown.

The comments occurred daily and included things like Buksh being called a “Paki-princess” and told he was the same color as human feces. This type of activity at work is well beyond the accepted standards of decency. Can you imagine coming into work each day and listening to these comments . Buksh was told that his religion was “f---ing backwards,” and “f---ing crazy." He complained to management but nothing was done to stop the discrimination. I am glad the EEOC made the company pay up and stop this type of behavior.

“Employers must remember that federal law prohibits harassment based on national origin, religion and color,” said EEOC Attorney Lynette A. Barnes.
February 17, 2012

Discrimination Based on Ancestry In Chicago

My Chicago offices gets many calls from employees of companies who happen to be Hispanic and believe they are the victim of discrimination. They usually want to file a racial discrimination lawsuit but I have to tell them that in Illinois the only three categories of race are White, Black and Asian. Does this mean they are out of luck? The answer is no. They can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") for discrimination based on Ancestry. They could also file based on Color or National Origin. So what are the differences of each category? Well, Ancestry refers to the nation, country, tribe or other identifiable group of people from which a person descends. This covers a great deal of items.

National Origin on the other hand is based on ethnicity or accent. And lastly Color refers to the color of a person's skin. As you can see there is a great deal of overlap in all three categories. As an attorney that handles all types of discrimination cases at the IDHR, I can tell you that it is important to have someone with experience on your side. The Chicago office of the IDHR is a very busy place and you don't want your case to get lost in the shuffle. If you believe you are the victim of discrimination and the boss is treating you different at work, call my office to protect your rights.

December 19, 2011

M. Slavin and Sons Pays $900,000 To Settle Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit

M. Slavin & Sons, Ltd., pays $900,000 to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit the was filed on behalf of over 30 black employees. According to published accounts the company created a hostile work environment for the workers based on sexual harassment, national origin, racial discrimination and retaliation.

The company owners and managers harassed the employees making explicit sexual comments and using offensive racial terms such as “n----r” and “African b-----d.” Many of the men endured this treatment because they desperately needed the work.

“Thanks to Kevin Pierson’s EEOC charge and this lawsuit, employees at M. Slavin will now be able to work in an environment free from discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Sunu P. Chandy.
November 15, 2011

Simon Property Group Inc. Pays $125,000 To Settle National Origin Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC') settled a national origin lawsuit with the Simon Property Group, Inc. According to published Latino janitors working for the company were subjected to daily verbal attacks because of their national origin. Examples included a white housekeeping shift leader subjecting the Latino janitors to verbal abuse, including racial slurs.

In a remarkable piece of evidence over twelve Latino janitors submitted written statements complaining about the shift leader. And nothing ws done to stop this conduct. The harassment continued for another year, until the supervisor was finally terminated for other reasons. This type of behavior by a company is not acceptable. The company would have been better off firing this man when the twelve workers came forward and complained.

"National origin discrimination issues are on the rise and we are committed to vigorously enforcing federal laws to ensure workplaces free of harassment and discrimination.” said EEOC attorney Anna Park
October 23, 2011

Discrimination Based on Color, Ancestry and National Origin

In Illinois it is a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act to discrimination against an employee based on their color, ancestry or national origin. Many times a person being discriminated against will not know which of the three apply. There are many nuances to how a claim should be drafted to include all three. The reason for the care in drafting is to include all three claims so that the employer can't escape liability.

It is too bad that companies still have employee that are the victims of discrimination but it will only stop when the companies spend more money on training and properly screen employees. In Illinois the number of discrimination cases seems to be rising and the employees are currently under siege. It is very important to speak with an employment attorney to protect your rights.

September 16, 2011

ABM Industries Pays $180,000 To Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

ABM Industries settles a national origin discrimination lawsuit for $180,000. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after a thorough investigation by the agency. According to details which were published, supervisors at the company discriminated against Latino janitors by giving them less preferable assignments despite their seniority. In addtion to that, the supervisors removed them from long favored positions. The workers complained about the discriminatory conduct and ABM engaged in retaliation against the men after they filed with the EEOC.

The company should have kept better controls on its supervisors and should have taken the complaints seriously. Once the EEOC got involved the company had to change its' tune and could no longer sweep this under the rug. It has been my experience that companies like to put off doing anything unless forced to.

“We commend the workers who came to us and filed charges, who recognized a problem in their workplace and were willing to come to the EEOC to seek to remedy it. Their coming forward will result in positive changes in the workplace.” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado
September 14, 2011

Holiday Specialtrees Pays $110,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Holiday Specialtrees pays $110,000 to settle a sexual harassment and national origin discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after two male workers were targeted because of their national origin. Both men were Mixtec, an indigenous group from Oaxaca, Mexico. When a worker is targeted because his national origin it is a form of discrimination. In this case you can see how much money the company had to pay because of the actions of its' employees.

Published accounts allege a supervisor and other workers would expose themselves to the Mixtec workers while making sexual comments--this is sexual harassment. To make matters even worse several co-workers would grab the men’s buttock and chest area, or grab them from behind and simulate anal sex. Can you imagine going to work every day and having this happen to you? It is incredible that this type of activity actually takes place at work.

“This case highlights the prejudices that a minority-within-a-minority can face,” said EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo
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August 17, 2011

New York University Pays $210,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

New York University ("NYU") pays $210,000 to settle a national origin discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit alleged that NYU violated federal law by subjecting an African-born employee from Ghana to a hostile work environment that included degrading verbal harassment. When an employee is subjected to hostile comments it not only affects that employee but it can have a negative impact on all employees.

Published accounts reveal that the supervisor of the mailroom regularly addressed the employee with slurs such as “monkey” and “gorilla” and insults such as “go back to your cage” and “do you want a banana?” It is unbelievable that this type of conduct was taking place at an institution of higher learning. It took NYU a very long time to investigate the employee’s many complaints and then took virtually no corrective action. To make matters worse, NYU was even aware that the supervisor made up stories to get the man in trouble and to discipline him. I am glad the man hung in there and made the University pay.

“This suit shows that ugly harassment and retaliation can happen anywhere, even at a prestigious university,” said EEOC Gillian L. Thomas
June 16, 2011

Ricoh Americas Corp. Pays $125,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Ricoh Americas Corporation ("Ricoh") will pay $125,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of three employees. The three employees were James Nyema-Davies, Anibal Melendez and Gustavo Tovar. According to published accounts Ricoh subjected the three to discrimination based on their race and national origin which was black and Columbian and Puerto Rican. The lawsuit further alleged that Ricoh suspended and then fired all three employees for complaining about the harassment-which is retaliation.

The men were subjected to offensive national origin- and race-based harassment, including derogatory comments by the site manager in their location. On a daily or near-daily basis, the site manager made comments to the three employees such as stating that she “hated Puerto Ricans,” that “Hispanics are so stupid,” “Colombians are good for nothing except drugs,” and that “damn, f-----g Africans . . .ain’t worth s--t.”

“Race and national origin harassment include racial or ethnic slurs or other expressions of dislike for different racial and ethnic backgrounds,” said EEOC Attorney Lynette A. Barnes

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May 22, 2011

Sacramento State Professor Who Cost The University $900,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuits Now Sues The University

In what is a real twist of events Sacramento State professor Wilfrido Corral is suing the University claiming they discriminated against him because of his national origin--Latino. Corral was accused of sexually harassing four students and three professors and cost California State University more than $900,000 to settle sexual harassment claims from some of the women who say he harassed them. According to published accounts, four Sacramento State students complained that Corral had made sexual advances toward them. The advances included taking them to dinner and making sexual comments to them.

The University claims it had good reason to fire Corral. They claim Corral called Professor Buffard a "French whore" and referred to Gelus and Moore (two other professors) as "lesbian bitches" in front of staff and students. Obviously when you make these types of statements you have to expect to have disciplinary action taken against you. If all of the published accounts are true, Corral does not seem to have much of a case and he already cost the University a great deal of money.

"He's tried to twist the whole story and make (the professors) look like the bad guys when they were just trying to do their jobs," The University said


May 9, 2011

Chicago Area Hilton Pays $195,000 To Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

The Hilton Lisle/Naperville ("Hilton") is paying $195,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Hispanic employees. According to published accounts Hispanic employees in the hotel kitchen were subjected to offensive comments. Specifically, the hotel’s executive chef regularly referred to Hispanic employees as “s--cs” and “wetbacks.”

It is hard to believe a person in the position of executive chef would make such offensive comments to fellow co-workers. What is even more disturbing is that management did not take any action against the chef at the time. One would think that a brand like Hilton would have a better policy and procedure in place. The EEOC was able to get a nice settlement on behalf of the Hispanic workers and hopefully this type of activity will not happen in the future.

EEOC attorney Aaron DeCamp added, “Over the next three years, EEOC will keep a close eye on how the Hilton Lisle/Naperville implements the consent decree to make certain these issues do not recur.”
April 15, 2011

Sam's Club Settles Hostile Work Environment and National Origin Lawsuit For $440,000

Sam’s Club pays $440,000 to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of nine employees. The employees of Mexican descent endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks by a fellow co-worker who is Mexican-American. The nine victims complained about the hostile work environment to management but nothing was done to stop it. In fact the harassment only intensified and led to intimidation.

The comments about the Mexican's included being called wetbacks and references to Mexicans only being good for cleaning the harasser’s home. The person that was making the comments even threatened to report three of the victims to immigration authorities despite their legal status. The person doing the harassing was finally fired by Sam's Club but only after the EEOC filed the lawsuit.

“A work environment that is free of harassment ensures a more productive and vibrant workplace for all.” said EEOC attorney Anna Park
April 6, 2011

Software Support Company Settles National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit For $60,000

Integrated Broadband Services pays $60,000 to settle a national origin discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a black female Tanzanian network analyst who was fired for leaving work 30 minutes early. To show discrimination the EEOC pointed out that a similarly situated white network analyst received only written discipline after leaving work two hours early and the white worker did it twice in one week.

Many times national origin discrimination can also include discrimination based on ancestry or citizenship status. Both of those categories go unreported many times but they are viable forms of discrimination. Along with the settlement amount the company agreed to terms that include additional training on discrimination and posting anti-discrimination notices.

“The EEOC filed this lawsuit because the difference in treatment between these employees was clear, and a woman lost her livelihood due to this discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
January 15, 2011

Northwest Cosmetic Labs Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $30,000

Northwest Cosmetic Labs will pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit based on national origin and retaliation. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf on a British subject born in Zimbabwe. According to published accounts, the employee was hired after a series of phone interviews for a full-time paid internship in cosmetic formulation. She did not interview in person because she was living in England at the time. Upon her arrival in Idaho Falls, she was told by her supervisor that employees at the company would likely be surprised to find out that she was black, since she was British.

What really happened of course was the company saw she was black and did not want her to be an employee. What the company did was try to make it so she failed because she was not the white person they thought they were getting. She received little to no direction from her supervisors and was rarely given assignments, despite her repeated requests to be given work. Her treatment stood in stark contrast to that of the company’s two other interns, who were both Caucasian. She was fired a short time laster.

“Instead of encountering the exemplary American values of justice and equality, this young visitor was treated to discrimination and punishment for standing up for her rights,” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado.
December 9, 2010

Sahara Casino Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $100,000

Sahara Hotel & Casino will pay $100,000 to settle a national origin discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
According to details which were published as part of the settlement, Sahara 's supervisors and coworkers continuously belittled and harassed Ezzat Elias, whose job entailed maintaining and delivering food to the hotel buffet, because of his Egyptian heritage. Mr. Elias had to endure many hostile work environment type commnets while doing his job. The commnets included, “Go back to Egypt,” “f-----g Egyptian,” and often referred to him as “Bin Laden.”

Elias also endured graffiti in the men’s locker room and elsewhere, targeting him with phrases such as “sand n----r” and “the Taliban must die.” You can imagion how difficult it would be to go to work every day under these types of conditions. Elias made repeated complaints to management about what was going on and management did nothing to stop it. Instead supervisors retaliated against Elias shortly after his initial complaint by increasing his workload, subjecting him to closer scrutiny, formally disciplining and ultimately suspending him.

“Under federal law, employees of all national origins are protected from this type of harassment,” said Anna Park, EEOC attorney.

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December 1, 2010

LAZ Parking Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit With EEOC For $46,000

LAZ Parking pays $46,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a Muslim woman. According to accounts with have been published LAZ Parking unlawfully subjected a practicing Muslim woman to discrimination when it terminated her because of her religious beliefs and refusing to remove her head covering (hijab).

This type of activity is taking place more and more and there has been a real increase in religious and national origin discrimination. Both of these types of discrimination cause a hostile work environment for employees.

“LAZ Parking worked diligently with the parties in this case to come to a speedy resolution,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins. “Going forward, we believe LAZ Parking is sincerely committed to avoiding these types of problems.”
September 6, 2010

Former Moline Illinois Public Library Worker Gets $1 Million for Retaliation Lawsuit

Mary Clark a former Moline Public Library worker settled her retaliation lawsuit with the city of Moline for $1 million. According to published reports Clark who worked for the library for 24-years, claimed Leslie Kee a retired library director fired her in retaliation for complaints she made against the director. It all started back in 2008 when Clark complained to the library board alleging Kee was creating a hostile work environment, and acting in a vulgar and offensive manner. The lawsuit claimed that Kee and the City of Moline were discriminating based on sexual harassment, racial discrimination and national origin. In cases like this it is not unusual to have multiple claims of discrimination. She is basically saying I complained about all these types of behavior and as a result I was retaliated against by being fired.

After the complaint to the board Kee was reprimanded for her behavior and one month later, Kee recommended to the library board that Clark’s position be eliminated to save money. Clark was fired and based on the close proximity to her complaint, one could see the retaliation. The city was fighting the lawsuit but statements began to emerge that hurt the city's case and they decided to settle. You can see how important it is to have documents that are favorable to your case. In this case, a million dollar settlement was reached because of the documents.

“The city and insurance company were surprised and disappointed by the content of those statements,” city officials said.

Continue reading "Former Moline Illinois Public Library Worker Gets $1 Million for Retaliation Lawsuit" »

September 4, 2010

Chrysler Pipefitter Awarded $4.2 Million In National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

A Rockford Illinois federal court jury found in favor of pipefitter Otto May and ordered Chrysler to pay $4.2 million to the 60-year-old. According to court testimony May endured years of harassment based on his national origin. The harassment included hateful graffiti and death threats over his Jewish and Cuban-American ethnicity. Additionally, May had his tires shredded in the parking lot by co-workers as part of the ongoing harassment. He was even denied the same overtime opportunities as other similarly situated employees.

The jury listened to the evidence for a week and awarded May $709,000 in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages. It is nice to see someone stand up and fight back when they are being discriminated against at work. This type of discrimination at work creates a hostile work environment and makes it difficult to function.

Mr. May showed extraordinary courage and determination which paid off in the end. This case should act as a warning to companies who refuse to protect workers when they are being subjected to harassment of any kind. Congratulations Mr. May.

"I'm glad the jury believed me," said May


Continue reading "Chrysler Pipefitter Awarded $4.2 Million In National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit" »

August 24, 2010

Racial and National Origin Lawsuit With Paramount Staffing Settles For $585,000

Paramount Staffing pays $585,000 to settle a racial discrimination and national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of African American workers. According to published accounts, the company failed to hire African Americans based on their race or national origin, American; and discriminated against African American employees on the basis of race or national origin, American; and engaged in retaliation against them.

Paramount hired Hispanics in bulk in order to pay less money to their workers. This wholesale discrimination resulted in an investigation by the EEOC and this lawsuit. Paramount is based in Illinois and this type of action will not be tolerated. It is great to see workers stand up for their rights and fight for what is right. Employment lawyers can look to this case and see the large dollar amounts that are available in Illinois for cases similar to this.

Faye A. Williams EEOC attorney said, “we commend the former employee who had the courage to step forward and file a charge of discrimination under Title VII. Her action allowed the Commission to challenge the employment practice, preferring one group of employees over another based on race or national origin.”
August 20, 2010

Mercury Air Centers Gets Cleaned By EEOC and Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $600,000

Mercury Air Centers, Inc., will pay $600,000 to settle a national origin, racial and sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC'). According to allegations made by the seven victims – including one Filipino male and six Hispanic males the company tolerated large amounts of discriminatory conduct and did nothing to stop it. In one instance a Filipino line technician was regularly referred to as a “chink,” “chino,” and “stupid Chinese,” and subjected to offensive statements about Filipinos.

The alleged harasser peppered the Guatemalan workers with derogatory remarks regarding their national origin, including references to them as “stupid Guatemaltecos” and stating that Guatemalans are useless and inferior to Salvadorans. Prior to learning the actual national origin of one of the Guatemalan victims, the alleged harasser also called him a “stupid Mexican.”

“We commend Atlantic Services for taking steps to rectify the hostile work environment that persisted at Mercury Air Centers,” said Anna Park, EEOC attorney.
July 28, 2010

Area Temps Pays $650,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Area Temps will pay $650,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The discrimination lawsuit is based on age discrimination, gender discrimination, racial discrimination and national origin discrimination. It is rare to find a lawsuit that is sucessful and allegeding all four categories.

According to published accounts of the lawsuit Area Temps unlawfully complied with discriminatory requests made by its clients based on race, sex, national origin and age, and unlawfully fired two of its employees in retaliation for their opposition to Area Temps’ discriminatory practices. The company also fired one employee for participation in the EEOC’s investigation. The company that made the request of Area Temp for the discriminatory practices should also be held accountable.

“The EEOC is pleased that Area Temps joined with the agency to negotiate a fair settlement resolving this matter,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.
June 26, 2010

Midstate Construction Pays $50,000 To Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

Midstate construction company will pay $50,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of four Latino workers. According to the lawsuit, Midstate subjected the workers to verbal harassment by a former supervisor because of their national origin.

In a case like this, witness statements can be very helpful in forcing a company to settle. Once a company sees that there are many people who witnesses the discrimination, the company is more likely to want to settle and not risk a large judgement at trial.

EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado added, “All employers should be vigilant that they are in compliance with our federal laws that protect all employees, regardless of where they come from.”
June 22, 2010

Four Points Sheraton Sued For Discrimination Based On National Origin

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against the Four Points by Sheraton in Phoenix, of discriminating against an employee by subjecting him to a hostile work environment because of his Iraqi national origin. According to details of the lawsuit the man was subjected to continued and escalating workplace harassment and he was forced to resign as a result of the discriminatory conduct.

The employee Basil Massih was subjected to harassment which included mimicking Massih’s accent, ethnic slurs such as “camel jockey,” mocking Arab ululations, and taunting and jeering at Massih relating to news stories about Iraq and the capture of terrorists. The lawsuit alleges that Massih complained to a number of managers about the national origin harassment, but that management failed to take corrective action, and that the continued harassment resulted in intolerable working conditions for Massih.

“Employers have an affirmative duty to protect employees from discrimination and harass­ment,” said Mary Jo O’Neill EEOC attorney.“
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
April 25, 2010

Electric Contractor Pays $100,000 To Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

Cannon & Wendt Electric Co. will pay $100,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Victor Cortez who claims he was subjected to racist statements based on his national origin and that he was the victim of retaliation because the company terminated him after he complained about the unlawful discrimination.

According to details in the lawsuit Cortez's immediate supervisor Mark Ghose made very crude and illegal comments to him. The comments included “I hate all Mexicans,” “they are worthless,” and “I hate Mexican music.” Ghose made it clear that he wanted to fire Cortez. Cortez complained to upper management and to the owner Albert Wendt, however nothing was done to stop the harassment and he was fired. This company is a repeat offender as far as discriminating against employee and it is nice to see the EEOC keep after this company. Hopefully, people will read about what is taking place and not do business with this company.

"This is a particularly troubling case because the EEOC sued this particular employer for religious discrimination a few years ago. After being sued, most employers take their EEO obligations under the law seriously. It is troubling to the EEOC to see a repeat offender.” said Janet Elizondo, EEOC attorney.

April 23, 2010

Construction Company Pays $122,500 To Settle National Origin, Racial and Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

Pace Services a construction company pays $122,500 to settle a national origin, racial discrimination and religious discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit wasa filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Mohammad Kaleemuddin who is of the Islamic faith and East Indian descent. The lawsuit also included 13 other employees because they were black or Hispanic.

According to the allegations in the lawsuit a Pace supervisor referred to Kaleemuddin as “terrorist,” “Taliban,” “Osama” and “Al-Qaeda.” Kaleemuddin complained to superiors about the harassment but nothing was done to stop it. Finally, Kaleemuddin was fired by the supervisor who was harassing him. Allegedly the same supervisor, as well as others in Pace management, regularly referred to African Americans as “n----s” and to Hispanics as “f-----g Mexicans.”

EEOC Attorney Jim Sacher said, “Employees have an absolute right to be free from discriminatory harassment in the workplace. The EEOC will vigorously challenge violations of this statutory right.”
April 2, 2010

Chicago Based RJB Properties Sued For Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

RJB Properties, Inc. and Blackstone Consulting, Inc., have been sued for sexual harassment, retaliation and national origin. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Latino employees. According to the lawsuit, 14 employees who worked as janitors and supervisors were fired because of their national origin, sexual harassment and retaliation. The Hispanic employees also had to listen to derogatory names and comments while they were working.

Additional details of the lawsuit include one Hispanic supervisor who was fired because he would not follow his superiors orders to fire another Hispanic employee for no reason. An employee does not have to follow discriminatory orders from management. It was nice to see this supervisor stand up to management and not follow their allegedly illegal orders. The EEOC also alleges Hispanic male employees were subjected to sexual harassment and when they would not go along with the request for sex, were subjected to retaliation by being fired.

“Employers cannot apply one set of rules to Hispanic workers and another set of rules to non-Hispanic workers, which is what we found occurred here. said EEOC attorney Ann Henry

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March 31, 2010

Chicago Bakery Pays $350,000 To Settle National Origin and Retaliation Lawsuit

Chicago bakery Gonnella Baking Co. agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a retaliation and national origin harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of seven Mexican employees. According to allegations in the lawsuit Gonnella did nothing to stop the harassment of the employees. This type of behavior is not acceptable and illegal in Illinois.

The employees allege that their manager made hostile comments about them because they were Mexican. Once employees complained to management about the comments they were subjected to shifts that lasted over 12 hours and in some cases 19 hours. They were also told to not complain further about the discrimination or else face the consequences. This type of behavior is considered retaliation. In Chicago there are many companies that treat employees like this and hopefully more employees will come forward to assert their rights.

“The derogatory language and other harassment directed at the employees in this case are entirely inappropriate in the workplace,” said John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago.


March 13, 2010

National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit Against Rend Lake College Dismissed

A lawsuit against Rend Lake College was dismissed by a federal judge because the plaintiff Salah Shakir was not able to provide evidence of unlawful activity by the Illinois community college. Shakir claimed discrimination based on national origin by an administrator who retaliated against Shakir because of his Muslim religion and Iraqi roots. The allegation included trying to ensure he would not be able to head the school.

In order to prevail in a lawsuit alleging nation origin discrimination, one would have to prove that but for the fact of the country of origin, the person would have either gotten a promotion, not been fired, or received a raise. If there are other non-discriminatory reasons why the negative job action or lack of positive job action took place, then the plaintiff will not be able to prove the case and it will most likely be dismissed.

“The board constantly strives to ensure that Rend Lake College is welcome to both employees and students of all backgrounds and cultures,” said the school’s attorney, Julie Bruch.

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March 10, 2010

Landwin Management Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $500,000

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") settled two lawsuits against Landwin Management, Inc. for $500,000. The lawsuits involved national origin discrimination and sexual harassment. According to facts in the lawsuit non-Chinese banquet servers were not hired based on their national origin. Apparently all the non-Chinese banquet servers who previously worked for the hotel were not hired back during the turnover and instead replaced with less qualified Chinese workers. The EEOC alleges that the majority of the replaced workers were Latino.

Additionallty, Landwin Management which managed the San Gabriel Hilton subjected female employees to sexual harassment. Allegations of sexual harassment included the housekeeping department supervisor calling the women prostitutes and whores. The women complained to management and nothing was done to stop the sexual harassment. You can see how much money this ended up costing the company--not much of a cost savings. The company also has to deal with the negative publicity.

“The days when employers make decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions shaped by the race or national origin of their employees should be far behind us,” said Anna Y. Park, the regional attorney for the EEOC.
February 1, 2010

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit By Police Against City Settled for $405,000

The city of San Leandro settled 4 for their 7 sexual harassment disputes for $405,000. According to the settlement documents three former San Leandro police officers and a department clerk will receive a total of $405,000. Former Officers Taiwo Pena-Hornung, Christina Tiletile and Kamilah Jackson, and records clerk Amanda Kerr sued the city claiming they were sexually harassed, discriminated against for their gender and national origin, and retaliation.

The trouble isn't over for the city as three female officers still employed also have active lawsuits and their cases are set for trial in October. According to court documents the settlement breaks down as follows. Tiletile was awarded $295,000. Pena-Hornung $50,000, Kerr $35,000 and Jackson $25,000. Sgt. J. DeWayne Stancill was accused of sexual harassment and of creating a hostile work environment in the cases.

September 23, 2009

EEOC Files Sexual Harassment and National Origin Lawsuit Against Knouse Foods Cooperative

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc. alleging that female farmworkers were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by male coworkers at its processing plant. According to the lawsuit the men engaged in sexual harassment by asking female employees to show their breasts, asking the females out on dates for sex and making other sexual advances to female employees. This type of behavior in the work place seems to be getting more common place and employees have to stand up and hire an attorney to protect their rights.

The lawsuit also alleges the women were subjected to discrimination because of their Mexican national origin. The Mexican women had things thrown at them and they were called derogatory terms such as “dumb Mexican” or “stupid Mexican.” The women complained about the sexual harassment and national origin discrimination to supervisors and managers, but Knouse Foods failed to take prompt and effective action to stop the harassment. The harassment and discrimination only go worse after the women complained.

“This is another tragic example of an employer failing to stop cruel, humiliating, and illegal victimization of vulnerable employees,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

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September 21, 2009

EEOC Report Shows Increase in Discrimination Lawsuits

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released its' report for 2008 and it shwos there were 16,752 complaints alleging employment discrimination– up 2.4 percent from the prior year. These complaints are allegations against government agencies only and do not include complaints against private companies. The complaints were filed against federal agencies on the basis of retaliation, gender, race, national origin, religion and age.

Other interesting statistics in the report include of 7,538 cases closed on the merits, 2.5% resulted in findings of unlawful discrimination. Both parties entered into settlements in 19.5 % or 3,249 complaints. Agencies awarded a total of over $50 million in monetary benefits to complainants for unlawful discrimination.

“Federal agencies must step up their efforts to improve complaint processing time, while also focusing on quality results,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “

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September 18, 2009

New Illinois Law Takes Affect January 1, 2010 Adding Additional Discrimination Protections

The Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA") also known as, 775 ILCS 5/1-101 will now offer protection to individuals who have an order of protection. Starting at the first of the year it will be considered unlawful discrimination, based on order of protection status, to take any negative job action on an individual if they have an order of protection and there is no legitimate business reason for the negative job action.

This new law adds order of protection status to the current protected classifications of religion, age, race, national origin, gender, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service. The initial charge would be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in either Chicago or Springfield.

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September 15, 2009

Appeals Court Upholds $241,708 National Origin Verdict

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury verdict int he amount of $241,708 for plaintiff Youssef Bouamama against Go Daddy Software Inc. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Bouamama, a Muslim of Moroccan national origin who speaks Arabic and claimed Go Daddy Software Inc. had engaged in retaliation against Bouamama when it fired him for complaining about religious and national origin discrimination.

In the underlining lawsuit, the jury found in favor of Bouamama and said that Go Daddy Software Inc. terminated Bouamama, for complaining about religious discrimination and national origin discrimination. After 9-11, there has been a rise in the number of complaints and lawsuit filed based on national origin. Muslims seem to be the latest group to be subjected to this type of discriminatory conduct.

“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the jury’s finding of retaliation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office.

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August 13, 2009

EEOC Files Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against Propak Logistics alleging reverse discrimination. According to the lawsuit, from October 1, 2002, through June 30, 2004, based Propak Logistics, Inc. engaged in unlawful employment practices by refusing to hire an entire class of people for non-management positions at its Shelby, N.C., facility because of their non-Hispanic national origin. The complaint said that the company hired predominantly Latinos to the exclusion of equally or more qualified non-Latinos--this is also known as reverse discrimination.

This type of discrimination is national origin discrimination and it is usually filed against companies for not hiring minorities but the door swings both way. A company cannot discriminate against any group based on race or national origin. If a company does discrimination based on national origin, the employee is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Discrimination based on national origin is simply illegal, regardless of the background of the victims or the beneficiaries of that misconduct,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.
“This case represents the unfortunate reality that some employers are willing to discriminate against one racial or cultural group in favor of another,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office.

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August 10, 2009

EEOC Files National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit Against Sahara Casino

The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas violated federal law by creating a hostile work environment for Ezzat Elias an Egyptian kitchen employee through a daily barrage of derogatory comments due to his national origin and retaliating against him when he reported it according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit Sahara's supervisors and coworkers continuously belittled and harassed Elias, whose job was delivering food from the kitchen to the hotel buffet and maintaining the buffet, because of his Egyptian heritage.

The harassment included offensive comments, slurs, and graffiti, such as being called “Bin Laden,” “Taliban,” and “f ____ Egyptian” and being told to “go back to Egypt.” Elias was also targeted with graffiti, which he was then required to wash off. Despite Elias’s repeated complaints of such harassment, the defendants failed to take effective measures to stop it. Instead, supervisors retaliated against him, which included disciplinary write-ups and suspension. Retaliation occurs when an employee complains about being discriminated against and supervisors do nothing about it and in fact either encourage the discriminatory behavior or punish the employee for reporting the discriminatory conduct.

National origin discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for Elias, as well as injunctive relief to prevent such discrimination in the future.

"There is no excuse for such blatant and abusive behavior targeting workers on the basis of their national origin,” said EEOC Las Vegas Local Director Lucy Orta. “Employers must train their managers and frontline supervisors to prevent discrimination and to take prompt and effective action against harassment when it occurs."
August 3, 2009

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd Pays $1.7 Million to Settle Discrimination Cases With The EEOC

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd., the largest employer and conglomerate of garment manufacturers in Saipan, will pay $1.7 million and to provide far reaching and significant injunctive relief to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuits alleged the company violated federal law regarding retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law. The EEOC alleged that the employer retaliated against 14 Filipino and Bangladeshi workers when it terminated them because they filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC.

The allegations in the case also included that Bangladeshi security guards were being treated differently than Nepalese with respect to assignment of overtime hours, work location, and housing. Further, the EEOC said the defendants discriminated on the basis of national origin by providing different amounts of benefits to Nepalese, Chinese, Filipino and Bangladeshi employees, and failed to conduct any investigation regarding the claimants’ allegations. Within two or three months after the charge was filed with the EEOC, the defendants unlawfully retaliated against the workers by failing to renew their contracts.

“This major settlement shows that the EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of all workers, within every reach of our jurisdiction, to be free of discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The resolutions of these egregious cases bring a measure of justice to the many workers who were retaliated against and otherwise victimized by discriminatory employment practices because of their national origin, age, or pregnancy.”

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July 26, 2009

EEOC Sues Ashley Furniture For Sexual Harassment, National Origin and Racial Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against Ashley Furniture also known as Phil Vinar Furniture Inc., in Moline Illinois alleging Ashley's discriminated against employees and job applicants in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"). The lawsuit involves approximately 30 to 35 people including employees and job applicants.The lawsuit alleges Ashley's discriminated against Jacqueline Foster because of sexual harassment and also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") by harassing Foster because of her disability and by refusing to provide her with a reasonable accommodation. The EEOC says Ashleys's retaliated against her and others for complaining about sexual harassment.

The lawsuit claims Ashley's engaged in racial and national origin discriminated against a class of African-American and Hispanic applicants by refusing to hire them because of their race and national origin. There is also an allegation that Ashley's violated the record keeping provision of Title VII by not keeping proper records of applicant and employees races and national origin.

The EEOC office in Chicago files about 30 cases of discrimination a year in Illinois.

The EEOC claims Ashleys violated the ADA by denying Foster and another employee health insurance benefits because of their disabilities, that the store engaged in retaliation against Foster in violation of the ADA by firing her after she engaged in protected activity and that the store violated the ADA by commingling employee medical records and personnel records.

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July 8, 2009

Rise in National Origin Discrimination Claims Post 9-11

After the horiffic events of September 9, 2001, discrimination against Muslins and people of Middle Eastern descent has increased, including in workplace discrimination--such discrimination is known as discrimination based on national origin. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin." 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e. The United States Supreme Court has interpreted Title VII's use of the term "national origin" as referring "to the country where a person was born, or, more broadly, the country from which his or her ancestors came." Espinoza v. Farah Mfg. Co., 414 U.S. 86, 88 (1973). The EEOC guidelines give breadth to define national origin discrimination "as including, but not limited to, the denial of equal employment opportunity because of origin, or because an individual has the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a national origin group." 29 C.F.R. Section 1606.1.

Another basis for discrimination claims based on national origin can be found under section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. Section 1981. In Illinois, the controlling case is Abdullahi, v. Prada USA Corporation, 520 F. 3d 710 (7th Cir. 2008), whereby the Seventh Circuit held that hostility based on national origin (in this case Iranian) might be based on the fact that Iran is regarded as an enemy of the United States or by racial animosity. In 2008 the EEOC received 10,601 claims of discrimination based on National Origin with cases settling for a total of $25.4 million.

July 4, 2009

EEOC Files National Origin Lawsuit Against Simon Property Group

Simon Property Group, Inc., a nationwide commercial property management company, violated federal law by subjecting Hispanic employees to national origin discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") charges in a lawsuit. Simon Property Group owns and/or manages various shopping malls throughout the country, including the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where the EEOC said the discriminatory acts took place.

According to the lawsuit, a class of Hispanic housekeepers were subjected to a hostile work environment while performing custodial and janitorial duties at the Forum Shops. The harass­ment began in 2005, when the housekeeping shift lead was hired, and ended when he was terminated for reasons related to the harassment. The housekeeping shift lead referred to housekeepers and other Latino employees as “wetbacks,” “tacos,” and “burritos” and repeatedly told them to “go back to Mexico” – among other things. He also told the Latinos that Mexicans have “inferior intelligence and capability in comparison to whites, and that is why whites are in power.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Park of the Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction for southern Nevada, said, “The abuse of Latino workers will not be tolerated by the EEOC.

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