July 6, 2012

Best Western Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $365,000

Hotel groups Pacific Hospitality and Seasons Hotel, which does business as Best Western Evergreen Inn and Best Western Tacoma Dome paid $365,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. The employment discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a group of workers. According to published accounts the general manager persistently harassed and denigrated women, including those who were minorities and had strong religious beliefs. This type of activity resuled in a multiple count discrimination lawsuit based on racial discrimination, gender discrimination and religious discrimination.

A group of female employees were subjected to the constant use of racial slurs and derogatory sex-based and racial comments, yelling and physical intimidation. Things got even worse for on employee who had a stapler thrown at her head. I can't believe this type of activity actually took place at a place of work. Another woman was told she was nothing but a welfare mother and should abort her pregnancy. There must have been some backward thinking people working at this hotel. To make matters worse the general manager also illegally fired five women after they revealed they were pregnant--which would be pregnancy discrmination.

“The women in this case were trying to support their families—to keep the lights on and put food on the table. Rather than being allowed to work, they were threatened, screamed at, subjected to sexist and racist slurs by upper management and had their religious beliefs belittled." said EEOC attorney William R. Tamayo.

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April 20, 2012

Bankers Asset Management Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $600,000

Bankers Asset Management, Inc., pays $600,000 to settle a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEOC") on behalf of black job applications. In Illinois there are three races which qualify for racial discrimination under the law. Those are white, black and Asian. Hispanic is not considered a race but rather a national origin or ancestry for purposes of discrimination law. An experienced employment lawyer can help file your discrimination lawsuit and determine what to file under.

According to documents which have been made public the company retaliated against other employees and former employees for opposing or testifying about the racial discrimination. In some cases employees were demoted and one was even forced out of her job. To make matters worse, some were even sued in state court. I really can't believe this type of activity took place. You can see how the EEOC made this company pay and didn't allow them to continue this obscene practice.

“Excluding qualified individuals from job opportunities because of their race or in retaliation for exercising protected rights are fundamental violations of the laws we enforce,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez.
March 31, 2012

Cadillac Jack Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $87,500

Cadillac Jack, Inc. pays $87,200 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Tracey Tucker. According to information published on the EEOC website, Cadillac Jack fired Tracey Tucker, an African-American, from her position as contracts manager in retaliation for her complaining about racial discrimination and gender discrimination.

Tucker was terminated one day after lodging the discrimination complaint. Talk about a stupid policy. Most companies at least have the sense to wait a little while before firing an employee after they complain about discrimination. By firing her so soon after she complained about discrimination, the company made a pretty obvious statement. It is troubling that companies don't take discrimination complaints in a more serious fashion. I am glad the EEOC was able to obtain such a large settlement.

“The EEOC filed this lawsuit in large part due to the timing of the complaint and termination,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
March 13, 2012

Atsalis Brothers Painting Company Settles Retaliation Lawsuit With EEOC For $65,000

Atsalis Brothers Painting Company pays $65,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC') on behalf of Rodney Trice. According to published accounts Atsalis retaliated against Trice for objecting to racial discrimination. Trice worked for Atsalis as a painter and his foreman would call him the N-word among other things. This type of behavior is not acceptable and illegal. It must have been very hard for Trice to come into work each day and listen to that type of garbage.

Trice complained to management about this behavior and nothing was done to stop it. In fact Trice was not hired the next season which amounts to retaliation. It is illegal for an employer to take a negative job action against someone who is opposing discrimination. In this case, complaining about the derogatory language was opposing the racial discrimination. Paying this large amount of money should make Atsalis think twice about taking discrimination so lightly. Trice was right to stand up for his employment rights.

“The right of an employee to object to discriminatory conduct without fear of being punished by his employer is fundamental to ensuring equal employment opportunity,” said EEOC Attorney Dale Price.
February 27, 2012

Piggly Wiggly Pays $40,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Piggly Wiggly pays $40,000 to settle a racial discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of multiple people. In this case the gender discrimination involved men not being hired for cashier positions. This would seem to be a reverse type of discrimination. It is important to remember that neither gender can be discriminated against.

According to published accounts Piggly Wiggly locations owned by MWR Enterprises Inc. maintained policies and practices that intentionally failed to hire African-Americans because of their race. This is very troubling and it is hard to believe this type of activity still takes place. Additionally the company maintained a segregated work force. Wow, can you say take a trip in the time machine. Someone should tell these folks the year is 2012.

“The law is clear – employers may not refuse to hire applicants based on their race or gender,” “The EEOC will continue to ensure that such barriers to employment are removed.” said EEOC attorney Faye Williams
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.

February 2, 2012

Hispanic Workers Can Sue Under Ancestry Not Race

The Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") does not consider Hispanic to be a race for the purposes of filing a discrimination claim. The IDHR only considers three races, white, black and asian. The IDHR considers Hispanic people to fall into the white category and therefore in order to bring a discrimination claim you have to claim the discrimination is based on ancestry not race. So a racial discrimination can't be filed for a Hispanic worker. I know this may sound like a minor detail but it is the law in Illinois. My Chicago office represents many hispanic workers and I file often with the IDHR.

It is very important to properly draft the complaint in such a way as to maximize your chances of success. In Chicago there are many cases that the IDHR has to deal with and the better drafted the charge, the better the chances of a smooth investigation. You goal is to maximize your chances of winning and to maximize the money you may receive. Call an experienced trial attorney who concentrates in employment law cases and get the most out of your case.

January 20, 2012

Choctaw Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $75,000

Choctaw Transportation Company, Inc. pays $75,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of an African-American job applicant. According to published accounts the company refused to hire a black job applicant for a deckhand position because of his race. The applicant was qualified and should have been hired for the position.

This isn't the first problem for Choctaw. The EEOC alleges Choctaw has been discriminating for decades against black workers. Apparently Choctaw segregated its work force and has refused to hire blacks in deckhand positions. This type of activity is hard to believe. The company now has been exposed and the EEOC held the company to the laws that apply regarding employment. Hopefully this type of activity will not occur in the future at this company.

“Employees should not be subjected to racial discrimination in hiring, as it is a violation of federal law,” said EEOC attorney Faye Williams.
January 17, 2012

Findlay Honda Pays $150,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Findlay Honda will pay $150,000 to settle a retaliation and racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed on behalf of to two black employees by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts a parts department manager made racially derogatory comments and jokes on a near-daily basis to the two black employees. I know it is hard to believe this type of behavior takes place but it does. Not only did that happen but he also imposed stricter work-related rules on black employees. This type of discrimination is referred to as different terms and conditions.

Two black employees were eventually fired, one after communicating that he was going to file a discrimination charge against the company. This is referred to as retaliation. If you have a negative job action taken against you after complaining about discrimination you have a valid retaliation claim. The amount paid by the company shows they realize they did something wrong and want this to go away. I am glad the EEOC made the company pay up and helped the two workers get some satisfaction.

“We commend Shack-Findlay Automotive for taking proactive measures to ensure a workplace free of discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Anna Y. Park
January 13, 2012

Matrix, LLC. Pays $450,000 To Settle Retaliation With The EEOC

Matrix, L.L.C. pays $450,000 to a class of 15 former employees to settle a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the employees. According to published accounts Matrix officials told white supervisor Barbara Palermi not to hire any more black cleaners. When Palermi hired additional black cleaners based on their qualifications to do the job, Matrix dismissed her in retaliation for opposing the company’s racial discrimination. It is amazing that this type of activity still exists in the United States--but it does.

The EEOC alleged that Matrix management officials also discriminated against the black cleaners by insisting they sit in the back of the cafeteria during break times. At one point they even forbid them from using the cafeteria at all. To make matters worse and in an amazing turn of events Matrix fired all of the employees at the worksite and replaced them with an entirely non-black cleaning crew.

“We commend the company for its agreement to carry out the significant equitable relief provided in the consent decree, including providing expansive annual training, which will benefit all company employees,” said EEOC Attorney Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
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.
October 12, 2011

Chicago Hostile Work Environments At Work

In Chicago the number of hostile work environment complaints seems to be on the rise. The reason for the hostile work environments seems unclear but one reason may be the current state of the economy. There is no general hostile work environment in Illinois so the hostile environment must be based on a form of discrimination. The Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") investigates violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act which covers over 15 categories of discrimination. The most common form in Illinois seems to be sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

There must be a good understanding of your rights as an employee in Chicago. The rights you have cannot be taken away by the company and unless you understand the rights and take affirmative steps to protect them, they will be lost. There are strict time limits for filing a complaint with the IDHR so it is important to speak with an employment lawyer who is skilled in this field.

September 6, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Can't Be Based on General Harassment

I get many calls at my Chicago office about general harassment type questions. The boss yells at everyone or the boss is always slamming things around the office. In short, people call and say the boss is just an ass. The problem in Illinois is there is no general harassment law. People think that if the boss acts this way it is the basis of a hostile work environment. In Illinois it is not. In order to have a hostile work environment you need a basis of discrimination. For example, the boss is yelling at me because I am female--gender discrimination, or the boss is yelling at me because I am black--racial discrimination. If the boss is just a jerk, there is no case. Your only option at that point is to quit. The legislature tried to pass a law that would have covered this type of behavior but it failed.

What I suggest you do is evaluate whether or not there is some other reason why the boss is always yelling at you or throwing things. Is it because you are female? Are you the only person in your office that this is happening to ? So even though it may seem like he is just being a jerk, perhaps he is really discriminating against you based on a protected category. It is free to call my office and discuss the issue so why not ? You should work hard to protect your rights and not let the boss get away with this type of behavior.

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August 31, 2011

Pine View Living Inc. Sued For Retaliation

Pine View Living, Inc. is being accused of violating federal law by firing an employee for filing a job discrimination complaint. This is commonly referred to as retaliation. The against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed the complaint on behalf of Rae Anderson. According to published accounts Anderson was fired from her job because she complained to management and ended up filing a discrimination claim based on racial discrimination.

It is always amazing that a company can be so stupid as to fire an employee after they file a formal complaint of discrimination. It is against the law to punish an employee for asserting her rights. My Chicago office is seeing more and more of this type of activity and we are fighting hard to make sure it doesn't continue to happen. I will be following this case to see if the parties are able to settle prior to trial. Over 90% of all lawsuits end up settling prior to trial.

EEOC Chicago Attorney John C. Hendrickson said, “Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision means what it says: Don’t retaliate.”
August 26, 2011

Briggs Equipment Inc. Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $112,000

Briggs Equipment, Inc. pays $112,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and alleged that Bobby Wysong was subjected to racial discrimination when he was terminated from his position as a technician because of his race, black. A company cannot take an adverse action against an employee based on his race or other protected category. In Illinois this type of activity could result in a complaint being filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") as well as the EEOC.

According to published accounts Briggs subjected Wysong to a hostile work environment by employees calling Briggs various derogatory names. The main culprit was management employee Mario Rodriguez who referred to Wysong as a “n----r,” “slave” and “dark horse” in conjunction with expressly stating he wanted Wysong fired. The amazing thing was Rodriguez admitted to the comments and other employees also came forward to corroborate the story.

EEOC attorney Eduardo Juarez said “Not only have we obtained significant financial relief for Bobby Wysong, the employment practices that Briggs uses will be greatly improved. No one should have to put up with racial abuse in their place of work – or, even worse, losing his livelihood because of racism.”

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August 12, 2011

Williams Country Sausage Pays $60,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Williams Country Sausage ("WCS") pay $60,000 to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accoutns WCS was paying an African-American maintenance worker less than white counterparts and subjecting him to a hostile work environment. The worker had to work just as hard as the other employees for a lower wage--that isn't right.

WCS gave raises and paid higher salaries to all maintenance department employees except the department’s lone African-American employee and allowed a supervisor to regularly use racially offensive language toward the employee because of racial animus. This type of activity is not right and I am glad the employee stood up and did not take it. WCS should be embarassed by the actions that took place and hopefully this won't happen in the future.

“Sadly, race discrimination continues to exist in the workplace where workers are paid less and forced to endure a racially hostile work environment,” said EEOC attorney Faye A. Williams.
August 8, 2011

Monroe County Pays $100,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Monroe County will pay former Public Works Department employee Benjamin Moore nearly $100,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. According to published accounts Moore, an African-American, was passed over for promotions because of his race. Moore first filed his complaint of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") Moore said supervisor Marty Gates regularly used racial slurs toward him and other employees.

In a remarkable turn of events Gates admitted to using the racial slurs. Moore did not let the county get away with this type of behavior and he pursued his claim with the EEOC and forced a settlement. The county tried to allege that Moore had excessive absences and that is why he was fired but obviously paying $100,000 to Moore tells the real story.


July 13, 2011

Great Lakes Chemical Corp. Pays $80,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Great Lakes Chemical Corporation pays $80,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of black employees. According to published reports Great Lakes terminated several black employees because of their race. Specifically, Great Lakes terminated black employees based upon discriminatory and subjective evaluations. Many times in racial discrimination lawsuits statistics are utilized to prove the case.

"The EEOC remains committed to promoting equality of opportunity in the workplace for members of all races. We believe the decree entered by the Court will ensure that African American employees are not singled out for discriminatory treatment,"said EEOC Attorney Faye A. Williams.
June 27, 2011

Duquesne University Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Duquesne University has settled two gender discrimination lawsuits filed by members of its School of Law faculty. Former associate dean Vanessa Browne-Barbour alleged that University officials discriminated against her based on racial discrimination and gender discrimination when they declined to consider her for the interim dean position. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, which is common in these types of cases.

The second lawsuit was filed by Former clinical law teacher Alice Stewart. She filed a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the University. She alleged the current Dean Ken Gormley reduced her pay, demoted her and moved her to an office outside the law school building in retaliation for a sexual harassment claim she filed against him in 2006. Retaliation occurs when a negative job action results after you file a claim of discrimination. You can see how long these cases can last and the best thing to do usually is to try and settle.

"We have resolved their differences and Ms. Stewart is leaving to pursue other interests. The university wishes her well." Statement issued by the University.
June 25, 2011

Discrimination Based on Skin Color

My chicago offices gets many inquiries about the difference between racial discrimination and discrimination based on color. Even though there is an overlap between race and color they are not the same. Color discrimination can occur between persons of different races or ethnicities, or between persons of the same race or ethnicity. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") investigate color discrimination. It is interesting to note that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") does not define color but the the courts and the EEOC define color to have its commonly understood meaning – pigmentation, complexion, or skin shade or tone.

In short color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness, or other color characteristic of the person. Title VII prohibits color discrimination against all persons, including Caucasians. Many people don't realize this nuance in the law but it does exist. When the IDHR or EEOC are investigating a claim of color discrimination, they utilize a different standard than the circuit or federal courts. They apply the same standard of proof to all race or color discrimination claims, regardless of the victim’s race or the type of evidence used.

June 13, 2011

Herzog Roofing Pays $71,500 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

A roofing company, Herzog roofing will pay $71,500 to seven black, Hispanic and American Indian employees to settle racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the workers. According to published accounts, employees were frequently subjected to racial epithets, racial jokes and hostile treatment by other employees at Herzog Roofing.

The discrimination was largely the acts of supervisors. The employees complained but the complaints fell on deaf ears. When this type of activity takes place and is not stopped by management liability attaches. In this case the company ended up paying a pretty good amount of money. In the future I am sure the company will handle things in a different manner.

“Herzog now understands that it is not enough for an employer to have an anti-discrimination policy. The employer must enforce the policy and take preventive and corrective action to effectively fulfill its statutory obligation to maintain a workplace free of discrimination, including harassment.” said EEOC attorney Julie Schmid
June 4, 2011

Dots Inc. Pays $246,500 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Dots, Inc. pays $246,500 to settle a class racial discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of female workers. According to published accounts, Dots denied jobs on a systemic basis to white applicants since at least April 1, 2007. During that time Dots regularly hired black entry-level applicants for sales positions, but excluded white applicants who were equally or better qualified. This is commonly referred to as reverse discrimination.

According to details of the settlement there are 32 class members. That means the 32 women will split the settlement amount. The door swings both way when it comes to racial discrimination. In this case the company was discriminating against white workers and this too is not acceptable. Hopefully after paying this large amount the company will not engage in this type of behavior in the future.

“We hope that this is a wake-up call for Dots and other employers who believe that they are in compliance with the law if they hire minority applicants while excluding white applicants,” said EEOC Attorney Laurie A. Young.
June 1, 2011

Longs Drugs a/k/a/ CVS Caremark Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $55,000

Longs Drugs a/k/a CVS Caremark pays $55,000 to settle a gender discrimination, retaliation and racial discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Marcia Guaman an African-American female buyer. According to details which have become public, Guaman was treated different from colleagues who were not black or female. As an example given in the lawsuit Guaman received verbal and written warnings for her performance numbers, while white female co-workers with lower scores did not face any disciplinary action.

Additional odd behavior by the company included Guaman’s requests for vacation days being denied, even though she asked prior to white co-workers who were granted vacation for the same dates. Guaman was discharged from her position a few months after she raised the differential treatment to human resources which is the basis of the retaliation charge. Many times it isn't a company policy to discriminate but rather the actions of a manager. This underscores how important it is to properly train employees and members of management.


“Employers should guard against bias creeping in to distort company policies, and training staff is an important preventive measure,” said EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo.

May 14, 2011

City of Chicago Loses Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Must Pay Firefighters Over $30 Million

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of black firefighters and ordered the city of Chicago to rehire 111 black firefighters and pay over $30 million on back wages. The case is a racial discrimination lawsuit and started when the city of Chicago changed who would be hired as firefighters based on their test scores. The Seventh Circuit said the city of Chicago intentionally raised the requirement of higher test scores in order to exclude black firefighters.

Initially the city of Chicago said it would hire anyone who received higher than a 64, but then said only those getting above 89 would be hired, therefore reducing the number of black firefighters. The Court found that a score of 89 is not required to fight fires and using the score of 64 would have been adequate and would have resulted in a more just hiring system.

May 12, 2011

White Woman Wins Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit Gets $246,500

A Merrillville Dots store will pay $246,500 to one-time potential employees in order to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. This is a unique lawsuit because it involves white applications who claim they were not hired because they are whlte--reverse discrimination. In addition to paying a substanial amount of money, the store will change its hiring practices. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the settlement came prior to trial.

According to published accounts a Merrillville Dots staffer denied a woman and other white applicants employment. The denial was based soley on the color of their skin--white. This type of case is unusual but it shows that discrimination works both ways. The store had to pay a substanial amount of money and I am sure they won't make this mistake again. I am glad the women hung in there and contacted the EEOC to protect their rights. My chicago office handles these types of cases and I am seeing an increase in discrimination cases.

The applicant was told by a store manager that the store "doesn't hire white people."


May 7, 2011

Western Washington University Pays $135,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Western Washington University pays $135,000 to Shannon O'Dwyer to settle a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. O'Dwyer was a dispatcher in its police department who alleged she was fired after complaining about co-workers making racist and sexist remarks. Fired for complaining about discrimination is known as retaliation. This type of behavior is uncalled for and will cost a University money every time it happens. I am glad Shannon stuck in there and did not put up with it.

The hostile work environment type remarks included men saying that Western was only hiring minorities to fill quotas, claiming a woman only kept her job because she performed sexual favors, and that an African-American co-worker was only promoted because he's black. Western Washington University would do well to train its' employees to act better and to understand how comments like these can affect other employees.

According to the University O'Dwyer was fired during her probationary period and that it did not violate state law. However, I think the settlement amount speaks to what really took place. That is a great deal of money for a justifiable firing. I am seeing an increase in the number of University related claims of discrimination and retaliation. My Chicago office is especially busy with these types of claims.


May 6, 2011

Chubb & Son Pays $110,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Chubb & Son is paying $110,000 to settle a retaliation and racial discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Kong Chee Vang. According to published accounts by the EEOC, Vang was a Hmong tribsman and employee of Chubb and was refused a promotion because of her Asian race--which is racial discrimination.

Additionally Chubb failed to stop its managers from using stereotypes and negative assumptions based on race while considering Vang for a promotion to underwriter. The company then engaged in retaliation after she filed a complaint with the EEOC by not promoting her on a second attempt. This type of behavior will not be tolerated and will result in cash settlements every time. I am glad Vang did not take this sitting down and instead went to the EEOC and filed a lawsuit.

"Managers who may think they are ‘just standing up’ for their companies when they retaliate against complainants are, in fact, just doing more damage.” said EEOC John Hendrickson
May 4, 2011

Retaliation Lawsuit With Eclipse Advantage Settles For $60,000

Eclipse Advantage, Inc. pays $60,000 to settle a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Rodney Williams. According to published accounts, African-American employee Williams endured racial discrimination and when he reported it, the company engaged in retaliation. Williams began working in a supervisory position with the company and shortly thereafter was subjected to racial epithets from his superiors.

In a remarkable event, on his first day, Williams was asked if he was a “black man or a n----r.” The lawsuit alleged management frequently used racial slurs, most notably the N-word in the workplace. And Williams was demoted from supervisor to team lead and then discharged from his position as a team lead after complaining about a hostile work environment. This type of behavior is unacceptable and as you can see it will cost the company money and bad publicity every time.

“ The settlement not only provides monetary compensation for the discrimination victim, it also provides significant injunctive relief to prevent and eliminate further harassment and retaliation.” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence
April 27, 2011

StoneRidge Health and Rehab Center, LLC Pays $22,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

StoneRidge Health and Rehab Center, LLC, pays $22,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a female supervisor. According to published accounts the supervisor filed a complaint of racial discrimination with the company and was fired days later. When a good employee is fired within a short period of time after complaining about discrimination there is always a retaliation charge to follow.

In this case such a short period of time lapsed that it gives the impression that she was only fired because she complained to the company about a racial issue. It is very important to document was is going on at work and to file a complaint internally if you believe you are the victim of discrimination. I am glad the EEOC got involved and this woman would not let the company push her around.

“The number of retaliation lawsuits has risen across the country and within the Memphis District,” said EEOC Attorney Faye A. Williams “People have a right to complain about discrimination in the workplace, and the EEOC is committed to aggressively combating retaliation for it.”
April 23, 2011

Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $160,000

Ralph Jones Sheet Metal, Inc. pays $160,000 to former African-American employees to settle a racial harassment lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on their behalf. According to published accounts a white supervisor and other employees subjected African-American employees to racially offensive comments. The comments included the use of the N word and other such slurs.

This type of activity creates a hostile work environment for all employees. I am glad these employees decided to contact the EEOC and not let this supervisor get away with what he was doing. I know most people don't think this type of activity still takes place but it does. As you can see by the amount the company had to pay to settle this lawsuit, having a mouthy employee can cost a good deal of money.

“Employees should not have to endure a racially hostile work environment as it is a violation of federal law.” said EEOC attorney Faye Williams
April 21, 2011

Car Dealership Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $300,000

Auto dealer Ganley Lincoln of Bedford, Inc. pays $300,000 to four African-Americans to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on their behalf. According to published details of the lawsuit, Jay Walsh, Ganley’s general manager routinely used derogatory terms to refer to blacks, including the epithet “n----r.”

In a shocking statement Walsh said about an older African-American employee,that he wished the old n----r ... would hurry up and die. To make matters worse Walsh utilized a compensation system that disadvantaged black salespeople with regard to sales opportunities and commissions. This type of activity ended up costing the company a great deal of money and probably some good employees. Walsh is no longer employed there--big suprise.

“Racial harassment is utterly unacceptable and illegal,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence. “It demeans the entire workplace as well as the direct victims."
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
April 3, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Settled For $25,000

The city of Attleboro paid $25,000 to settle a hostile work environment and racial discrimination lawsuit with Vincent Bailey, an African-American firefighter. Because of the allegations against the city and specifically against the supervising officer, Bailey will not have to report to him in the future. The Sun Chronicle reports there is a gag order in affect and neither side is commenting, however a freedom of information request did get some information. The case was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD") which is similar to the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"), and the federal counterpart the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

According to reports in the Sun Chronicle, allegations include supervisor Perkins making racially based derogatory comments, such as:

"Vinny, while you're here, why don't you shine my shoes?"

These types of comments are not acceptable in the workplace and I am glad to see Mr. Bailey hold the city accountable. There were also five witnesses to the comments so it wasn't just a case of one person's word against anothers. This type of behavior not only makes work difficult for the person who is the target of the comments but it creates a hostile work environment for the other employees. You can imagine how uncomfortable it makes everyone at work.

February 6, 2011

Pacific Seafood Group Settles Retaliation Lawsuit With EEOC For $85,000

Pacific Seafood Group pays $85,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed on behalf of Jesus Perez. According to published accounts Pacific Seafood Group, Inc. illegally fired warehouse worker Jesus Perez after he complained to management about racial discrimination. Perez told his supervisor that he feared he had received a smaller raise than his non-Hispanic co-worker because of his race, he was told that if he was going to accuse the company of discrimination, they should part ways.

Perez was fired the same day he complained of alleged discrimination. This is the basis for his retaliation claim. If the company takes a negative job action against you based on your complaint of discrimination it is retaliation. In this case the evidence was clear, Perez was fired the same day he complained about a difference in pay based on race. The settlement amount is proof the company believed it did something wrong. Good job for Mr. Perez and his ability to hang tough and fight the company.

“I was shocked when they fired me.” “After working there for several years with a good record, I thought they would at least hear me out when I raised my complaint -- not fire me on the spot." Perez said.
January 11, 2011

Discrimination Filings With the EEOC Hit All-Time High

Discrimination charges filed by workers against their employers have reached an all-time high according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The discrimination that is taking place against workers is at an unprecedented level of 99,922 cases filed during 2010. During that same period of time the EEOC secured more than $404 million in monetary benefits from employers -- the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the Commission through the administrative process.

The EEOC broke the categories down into the top five in terms of the most cases that are filed. The numbers are as follows: Retaliation under all statutes (36,258), racial discrimination (35,890) Disability discrimination--Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") (25,165) age discrimination (23,264) and sexual harassment (11,717). I believe the increase in discrimination charges is a direct result of the bad economy and the belief by management that they can do what they want with employees and get away with it.

EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said. "Discrimination continues to be a substantial problem for too many job seekers and workers, and we must continue to build our capacity to enforce the laws that ensure that workplaces are free of unlawful bias."
December 25, 2010

Staffing Firm Settles Constructive Discharge Lawsuit For $20,000

Wisconsin Staffing Services, Inc. pays $20,000 to settle a racial discrimination and constructive discharge lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was the occured because allegedlly the president of the company engaged in repeated, acts of racial harassment toward a Native American employee, Carolyn Red Bear, allegedly including derogatory comments about Red Bear’s “ethnic” appearance, suggestions that she seek alternative employment in personal home care as more consistent with the skills of Native American people, and statements that she did not “fit in” with the white community in Ladysmith, Wis.

The constructive discharge lawsuit originated out of the company forcing Red Bear out of her job when she refused to comply with a directive from the company president to cut her hair, change her last name, and to stop “rubbing in” her heritage. When you are constructively discharge, it means you have to quit your job because things are so bad that no reasonable person would continue to work there. It is the same as being fired by the company.

"No employee can be required to endure harassment or mocking of her ethnic heritage as a price of holding on to her job,” said John Hendrickson, EEOC attorney.
December 24, 2010

Kaplan Higher Education Corp. Sued For Discrimination

Kaplan Higher Education Corporation is being sued because it participated in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black job applicants nationwide. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the class of workers after a lengthy investigation. It a common practice but is one that usually doesn't result in a lawsuit, Kaplan rejected job applicants based on their credit history. This practice has an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity.

As a result of this practice the company engaged in racial discrimination. This can also create a hostile work environment because of the impact this has on the workplace in general. In order to deny someone a job because of their credit score, one would have to show that a person with poor credit would have a negative impact on their job performance. For example in the banking industry it would probably be okay to not hire a person working with money all day if they had a poor credit score because of the involvement with money.

“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was intended to eliminate practices that serve as arbitrary barriers to employment because of a job applicant’s race,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence.
December 16, 2010

Hi Care Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $150,000

Hi Care, Inc. pays $150,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to accounts which have been published, Hi Care engaged in a pattern and practice of race-based assignments of its caregiving employees. Hi Care employed a practice known as racial coding. Racial coding would identify clients who preferred Caucasian caregivers. It is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make employment decisions about job assignments based on an employee’s race.

As part of the settlement with the EEOC, Hi Care agrees to monitoring by the EEOC to ensure they are not letting this practice happen again. In a case like this the paper work trail of evidence would be difficult to refute. This is a classic case of the company's own business records hurting them. I am glad to see the EEOC hold this company to good business practices.

“We believe that by entering into this consent decree, Hi Care is expressing its determination to prevent future race-based assignments and discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
October 20, 2010

Austin Foam Plastics Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $600,000

Austin Foam Plastics pays $600,000 to settle a racial discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment and retaliation lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Austin Foam subjected African-American employees to a racially hostile work environment, subjecting two male employees to a sexual harassment and fired one employee for opposing and reporting the discrimination and harassment.

The pubished accounts allege the harassment included black employees being routinely subjected to discriminatory intimidation, racially offensive comments, insults, cartoons and jokes. A female manager sexually harassed male employees by subjecting them to unwelcome sexual comments and unsolicited physical contact of a sexual nature. She also offered more favorable terms of employment to those males who went along with her sexual harassment and punished those that didn't.

“The law requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent and to correct racial and sexual harassment,” said David Rivela, EEOC attorney.
October 19, 2010

Planet Ford Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $160,000

Planet Ford pays $160,000 to settle a sexual harassment, age discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Published accounts claims that one employee was subjected to race discrimination by his supervisor and was retaliated against for complaining about the supervisor’s discriminatory conduct. Another employee was subjected to sexual harassment by the supervisor. The sexual harassment included comments of a sexual nature and taunts by the supervisor that the original complainant, who is heterosexual, was engaging in homosexual activities.

The supervisor also repeatedly berated the employee for being too old for the job and washed up in the industry. The supervisor repeatedly sabotaged the employees work efforts. Both employees complained to management but nothing was done by Planet Ford to put a stop to the conduct. In the end one employee transferred and one quit. This is considered retaliation by Planet Ford because they did nothing to stop the discrimination and forced the complaining employees into other positions as a result of their complaints.

“This settlement demonstrates that harsh treatment against workers because of their age and/or race, whether they are white or members of other races, will be aggressively opposed by the EEOC,” said EEOC Attorney Jim Sacher.

October 14, 2010

Strip Club Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $95,000

A strip club called Papermoon will pay $95,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Papermoon subjected two black doormen to racial harassment, segregation, and differing terms and conditions of employment. The company also engaged in retaliation against white employees who complained about the treatment they witnessed.

Managers at the Papermoon referred to black employees using offensive racial slurs, forced black employees to work in the back of the club instead of at the club entrance, and complained that “black music makes the club look bad.” Additionally company managers did not stop the harassment, but instead either forced out or fired white employees who opposed the abusive conduct. This type of behavior is not tolerated and is illegal. As you can see this type of activity cost the club almost $100,000.

“It is important for employers to recognize that this type of racial discrimination has no place in the modern workplace,” said EEOC Attorney Robert Weisberg. “Employers must treat employees of all races with dignity.”
October 6, 2010

Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Because Of Race-Based Preferences

The United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit issued a ruling regarding what constitutes a hostile work environment. In Chaney v. Plainfield Healtcare Center, the 7th Circuit ruled a nursing home which had a policy of honoring a patient's racial preferences is not required to do so by law and therefore can be sued for creating a hostile work enivornment for it's workers. It is crazy that in this point in our country's history we still have companies and people who are acting like it's 1700. You would think people have evolved to the point where they don't have to discriminate like this.

The problem started when black nursing assistant Brenda Chaney did not help a patient because the patient did not want any black people helping her. Chaney claimed that the healthcare center rules on racial preferences caused her to become depressed. Chaney sued the healthcare center but the district court dismissed the case after granting summary judgment in favor of the healthcare center. The 7th Circuit reinstated the lawsuit and my guess is the parties will now settle. Aside from creating a hostile work environment, the company probably engaged in racial discrimination from the behavior as well.

"The policy puts Plaintfield at risk of violating duties of medical care that it owes its residents" Judge Ann Claire Williams said.

Continue reading "Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Because Of Race-Based Preferences" »

October 3, 2010

Williams Sausage Sued For Hostile Work Environment and Racial Discrimination

Williams Sausage sued for racial discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of an African-American maintenance worker who was paid less than others. The EEOC also alleged that Williams Sausage subjected him to a hostile work environment because of the discriminatory acts and this led to him quitting. What an employer forces an employee out of a job it is referred to as a constructive discharge.

According to published documnets, Williams Sausage gave raises and paid higher salaries to all maintenance department employees except the department’s lone African-American employee and allowed a supervisor to regularly use racially offensive language toward the employee because of racial animus. It is hard to believe that this type of behavior still exists but sadly it does. It takes vigilence and hard work to ferret out these types of companies and to protect the rights of all employees.

“Sadly, race discrimination continues to exist in the workplace where workers are paid less and subjected to harassment. Addressing such conduct remains a priority for the Commission,” said Katharine W. Kores, EEOC attorney.

Continue reading "Williams Sausage Sued For Hostile Work Environment and Racial Discrimination" »

September 24, 2010

Mineral Met Pays $440,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Mineral Met pays $440,000 to settle a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts, a class of black employees was subjected to racial hostility and discriminatory behavior at Mineral Met’s Cleveland facility. The examples of the discrimination are plentyful. Quality Control Supervisor Langston Satterwhite had an excellent work history, but a white supervisor unfairly disciplined him for trivial matters, such as having facial hair or using a cell phone, even though white co-workers were not reprimanded for doing the same things.

Satterwhite complained to upper management about the racial discrimination he and other black employees experienced, but these complaints only resulted retaliation. Also once Satterwhile came forward and complained the company moved his office from the second floor, where other managers worked, and placed him in the basement with his subordinates. This type of behavior is obviously discriminatory and one has to wonder what the company was thinking. At the end of the day, companies are going to be held accountable for their actions and should think twice about how they handle situations.

“I am very pleased that Mineral Met has agreed to a settlement that not only remedies the harmed individuals, but implements policies preventing reoccurrence of such egregious behavior,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence.
September 17, 2010

Illinois Company Roadway Express Pays $10 Million To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Roadway Express and YRC, Inc. will pay $10 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to details which have been published, the company subjected black employees at its Chicago Heights, Ill., and Elk Grove Village, Ill., facilities to a racially hostile working environment and racial discrimination in terms and conditions of employment. There seems to be an increase in discrimination cases in the Chicago area and in Illinois.

The EEOC claimed black employees were subjected to multiple incidents of hangman’s nooses, racist graffiti, racist comments, and racist cartoons. Additionally black employees were subjected to harsher discipline and scrutiny than their white counterparts. Discipline for employees should be the same and when an entire class of employees is disciplined differently, it usually means there is some discrimination taking place.

“No one should have to endure degrading racial harassment in order to earn a living,” said P. David Lopez, General Counsel of the EEOC.
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" »

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.
August 8, 2010

Five Police Officers Receive $900,000 In Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

A jury awarded $900,000 to five black police officers in a retaliation and racial discrimination lawsuit. The jury believed the officers version of events that they had been punished for complaining about racial discrimination. According to testimony at trial the officers who worked in the vice unit, complained twice about alleged discrimination in the vice unit. However, after they complained management labeled them troublemakers and their real problems began.

Management began to retaliate by withholding information needed to do their jobs, such as the presence of armed suspects in their vicinity. Within weeks of the officers' formal complaint, all five were removed from the unit and given lesser posts which the jury viewed as retaliation. I am glad to see these officers stick up for themselves and pursue this matter until the end. Before filing their lawsuit they first had to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

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.
July 22, 2010

Construction Company Sued For Hostile Work Environment

Mike Enyart & Sons, a construction company is sued for racial discrimination and illegally firing an employee who complained about the conduct. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mareo Allen an African-American. According to accounts that were published, Allen was subjected to a hostile work environment based on his race, when he worked for the company on a sewer line installation project. While working on that project co-workers and a foreman repeatedly used racially offensive slurs and epithets to Allen and other black persons, including n----r, black boy and colored boy.

The company failed to stop the discrimination and prevent the hostile work environment. In a crazy statement the company told Allen he could only stay employed if he agreed not to pursue his discrimination claims. When Allen refused to withdraw the discrimination claims, the company terminated him in retaliation for his opposition to the racial harassment.

“It is appalling that the company not only condoned the vile and offensive racial epithets made to Mr. Allen, but actually warned him that he had to drop his complaints about the racial harassment in order to keep his job,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence
July 12, 2010

Home Builder Settles Gender Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $378,500

Home builder John Wieland Homes pays $378,500 and must hire at least 10 blacks and women in management positions over the next six years to settle a racial discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed on behalf of one white woman and five black sales agents. The lawsuit was the culmination of various lawsuits and investigations into the employment practices at this place of business. It is good to final see a resolution to all of the employment law issues.

According to published reports Wieland discriminated against black sales agents by purposely sending them to specific housing subdivisions based on the race of the surrounding community. The black sales agents ended up mainly in black subdivisions which did not have the same dollars in sales as the white subdivisions. Because of this black sales agents earned less than their white counterparts. People have to be given a level playing field in order to properly compete with their counterparts.

Robert Dawkins, attorney for the EEOC, said in a statement. "This resolution provides relief to the last remaining victims of that alleged practice.”
July 3, 2010

Chicago Based Silgan Containers Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $45,000

Silgan Containers Manufacturing Corporation pays $45,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of an African-American man who suffered discriminatory treatment that resulted in his termination. According to published documents Silgan intentionally delayed the hiring of Romardro Henderson and then firied him because of his race.

When Henderson was finally hired, his immediate supervisor subjected Henderson to disparate and discriminatory treatment such as holding him to a higher standard on his work than non-black employees. Silgan fired Henderson for racial reasons after less than one month on the job. The supervisor who subjected Henderson to the treatment is no longer working for the company. This case illustrates how one person can engage in discrimination and hold the company responsible. The company must do a better job training its' employees and management.

“This case demonstrates that racial discrimination in the American workplace is a serious and ongoing concern,” said John Rowe, EEOC district director in Chicago.
July 1, 2010

McGriff Industries Pays $100,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

McGriff Industries, Inc. pays $100,000 to settle a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Todd Roseborough, Sr., Paul Hogan and Aaron Greenwood all African-American employees. According to details in the lawsuit employees and managers used racially derogatory comments, slurs, and insults directed at African-Americans employees. The racial misconduct escalated to threats and intimidation, including a derogatory threat to cut one of the black employees.

Both white and black employees were offended by the racial harassment but were retaliated against when they complained. In once instance an employee was terminated when he complained about the discrimination that was taking place. This type of behavior by a large company is outrageous. These individuals hung in there and fought for their rights and in the end they prevailed. Hopefully, the company will not wish to dole out this kind of money in the future and will better train employees on the proper work behavior.

“This case is important because no employee should be subject to racism in the workplace and every employee can be offended by a racially hostile work environment,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas.
June 11, 2010

Spencer Reed Group Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $125,000

Spencer Reed Group will pay $125,000 to settle a racial discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a 55-year-old white employee. According to the lawsuit Spencer Reed violated federal law by discriminating against 55-year-old Caucasian employee because of her race and age and fired her as retaliation for her complaining about it. She was treated different than the younger African Americans.

The white woman worked as a senior functional analyst for Spencer Reed Group since 2003, was treated differently in many ways because of her age and race. She was subjected to adverse employment actions such as unduly harsh discipline, denied training, given the heaviest and most difficult workload and forced to provide work reports on a weekly instead of monthly basis.

One of the woman’s co-workers, a lead financial management analyst, said she felt that the treatment indicated “prejudice.” Finally the employee complained about the disparate treatment, but she was fired as retaliation the next day, the EEOC charged.

June 8, 2010

Metal Processing Plant Taken Through the Grinder--Pays $190,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Noble Metal Processing will pay $190,000 to settle a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of non-white employees. According to details in the lawsuit, Noble repeatedly overlooked qualified non-white employees, including a group of black employees and a Bangladeshi employee, for promotions to the maintenance department.

Also included in the case was a white employee who opposed this type of racial discrimination and complained that managers in the maintenance department were using racial slurs was fired shortly after the company learned of his complaints. It is hard to imagion companies still behaving in this fashion given the amount of information that is available on discrimination. Once again the EEOC did a great job and held the company responsible. I see many discrimination cases based on non-white workers from countries in the far east.

“Noble should be commended for reaching a resolution despite its financial difficulties,” said Nedra Campbell, an EEOC attorney in the Commission’s Detroit office. Under the parties’ agreement, seven employees will share in the lump sum settlement amount of $190,000.
June 2, 2010

EEOC Settles Discrimination Lawsuit With Affordable Care For $150,000

Affordable Care coughs up $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two female employees. According to published documents Affordable Care violated federal law when its affiliated dentist, Nelson Wood, engaged in sexual harassment and racially harassed two female employees. The facts were that Wood created a sexually and racially hostile work environment for Ariede Mills, who is African American, and Laura Carl, who is white.

The lawsuit alleged Wood referred to women as “whining bitches,” propositioned Mills for sex, spanked Carl repeatedly on the buttocks, made insulting remarks about blacks, and claimed that he had a relative who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is outrageous the a professional would act in this manner. Both Mills and Carl complained repeatedly about Wood to Affordable Care but the company failed to stop the harassment. To add fuel to the fire Mills was fired in retaliation for her complaints, and Carl was forced to quit because of the offensive conduct. Quitting because of that type of behavior is referred to as constructive discharge.

EEOC Attorney Markus L. Penzel said “The EEOC is pleased that Affordable Care worked cooperatively with us to resolve this case with minimal litigation."
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.
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
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.

April 27, 2010

Chevrolet Dealership Pays $120,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Preston Hood Chevrolet pays $120,000 to settle a sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuits were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of females employees and Rickey Hayes. According to the lawsuits Preston Hood subjected a class of female employees to gender harassment and to sexually explicit, provocative and insulting language, pornographic material and unwelcome sexual advances.

Additionally, Preston Hood subjected Rickey Hayes to racial discrimination because he was black. Details of that harassment include, racial slurs and racially derogatory language. In both cases, the employees complained to management and nothing was done to stop or correct the harassment. You would think management would have the brains to realize that with so many people coming forward and complaining something bad must be going on. Many times management likes to put its head in the sand and take the approach that if they just ignore the problem it will go away. That was a costly mistake in this case.

“Every employee deserves the freedom to work in an environment free from any form of harassment,” EEOC attorney Delner Franklin-Thomas said.
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 18, 2010

EEOC's Top Categories Of Filed Charges Released

The most frequently filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in 2009 were racial discrimination (36 percent), retaliation (36 percent) and gender discrimin­ation (30 percent). The reason why the numbers add up to over 100 is that charges of discrimination can have multiple categories selected. For example someone may file a charge claiming racial discrimination, gender discrimination and retaliation. In fact it is more common to have multiple charges than just a single charge of discrimination.

March 12, 2010

Elgin Mental Health Center Worker Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Virdia Spain a former Elgin Mental Health Center aide who was fired after a patient in her care died from a food allergy filed a lawsuit against her former employer claiming she was terminated based on on racial discrimination--because she is black. According to the lawsuit her employer blamed her and another minority worker for the death, while a white employee who was more responsible went unpunished and did not lose his job.

The tragic incident involved Howard Morris, who was a patient and who was given fish for dinner despite warnings of his severe allergy. Morris went into anaphylactic shock and died. The employer blamed Spain and the other minority worker and fired her. This type of case illustrates how some employers may try to limit their liability by blaming a worker and taking action against the worker. In this case, Spain, was an employee for Elgin Mental Health Center for 20 years.

"Myself and Mrs. Tuson, both being minorities were accused of reckless homicide when all the evidence shows that the (other employee) assigned dinner trays," the suit states. "Also, Mr. Morris had eaten 75 percent - 80 percent of his dinner before I took over."
February 19, 2010

EEOC Complaints Can Be Faxed

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") can be faxed instead of filed in person or through the mail. If you have a charge of discrimination, whether based on gender, race, religion or sexual harassment you have to file the charge within 180 with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or 300 days with the EEOC. The IDHR has always allowed for complaints to be filed by fax but the EEOC never recognized fax filings. In Laouini v. CLM Freight Lines, Inc. the Seventh Circuit held that a receipt showing a fax was sent to the EEOC is sufficient to prove the date of filing.

It is always very important to remember that there are very strict time limits to filing a charge of discrimination. You must not procrastonate and let too much time slip away. In some instances an employer may drag out the internal investigation so that by the time you receive the internal findings of the company, more than 180 days has passed and you can't file a charge with the IDHR.

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February 18, 2010

Big Lots Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $400,000

Big Lots settled a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of five employees for $400,000. According to the lawsuit Big Lots violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting a black maintenance mechanic and other black employees to racial harassment and racial discrimination at its distribution center.

The documents filed in the litigation also claim Hispanic workers including an immediate supervisor made racially derogatory jokes, and comments including the use of the words “n----r” and “monkey.” The men reported the racial discrimination to management but Big Lots failed to correct or stop the harassment.

“Working in a job that they valued highly, the employees in this case rightfully expected to earn a living free of discrimination,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “
February 5, 2010

Hilton Hotel Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $500,000

Latino workers who filed a racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against Hilton Hotels settled their sexual harassment lawsuit for $500,000. The problem started when Landwin Management Inc. took over management of the Hilton hotel in 2005, some Latino banquet servers were fired and replaced with less qualified Chinese workers. The Latino employees contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") which filed the lawsuit on the workers behalf.

According to Landwin they agreed to settle because they wanted to avoid expensive litigation costs that might lead to even more job losses at the hotel. That is a real laugh. Settling a lawsuit for half a million is a tacit admission of guilt even if the hotel won't come out and claim it. The bottom line is that most businesses only care about saving money and cutting costs and if they have to trample on the rights of employees, they really don't care. This is a classic example of that.

"If you can show that the job required certain special skills that could only be filled by Chinese speakers, that would be a different matter," said Derek Li, the supervisory trial attorney for the EEOC.


January 13, 2010

Cadillac Dealer Pays $140,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Stokes-Hodges Chevrolet Cadillac will pay $140,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleged the car dealer allowed a white male management consultant to subject an African American sales manager to racially derogatory comments. The comments occured when the white consultant would visit the dealership three or four times a week over a four week period. As a result of the nasty comments, the African American sales manager was subjected to a hostile work environment.

The comments were humiliating and were always in the presence of other people. The sales manager complained to management about the derogatory comments and at one point two white managers asked the consultant to stop his discriminatory behavior. However the consultant ignored the requests of the white managers and continued to make the derogatory comments at every opportunity. Upper management did not force the consultant to stop his behavior and a lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of the African American employee.

“This is an outrageous case where an African American employee was subjected to humiliating and degrading behavior,” said Bernice Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “
January 10, 2010

Sims Chevrolet Settles Racial Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit For $85,000

Sims Chevrolet pays $85,000 settling a racial discrimination and retalia­tion lawsuit brought by five former employees. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the former employee. The allegations include that beginning in July 2007, Sims Chevrolet subjected a class of African Americans to different terms and conditions of employment on the basis of their race. Additionally this created a hostile work environment.

According to papers filed in the lawsuit the racial discrimination included racial epithets, such as repeated use of the N-word. Management also made decisions based upon the race of the employee and at one point the company engaged in retaliation against one employee after he complained about the racial discrimination.

EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence of the Philadelphia District Office, which oversees parts of Ohio, said, “This case of discrimination could have been avoided if the employer had followed Title VII requirements."
January 7, 2010

Vanguard Group Pays $300,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Vanguard Group settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $300,000. The lawsuit was based on a black prospective employee, Barbara Alexander who was not hired for a financial planning manager position because of her race. Alexander had substantial work experience and was well qualified for the position of financial planning manager. Alexander has an MBA in finance and possessed 14 years of financial management experience. Vanguard passed over Alexander for employment and hired a less qualified white applicant.

In this day and age many companies are sophisticated enough not to come right out and say we aren't hiring you because of your race. Racial discrimination lawsuits are usually proven and settlements obtained through diligent discovery and comparison of other employees. It is imperative to contact an employment attorney who concentrates on discrimination lawsuits.

Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, said, “We commend Vanguard for its willingness to resolve this matter amicably and early in the litigation process."

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December 16, 2009

Bahama Breeze Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit for $1.26 Million

Bahama Breeze which operates a national restaurant chain settled a racial discrimination lawsuit for $1,260,000. The case involved 37 black workers at the company’s Beachwood, Ohio location. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the workers after settlement attempts failed. According to the lawsuit, Bahama Breeze managers committed persistent acts of racial harassment numerous times against black employees. These acts included calling black staff with racial slurs such as “nigger” “Aunt Jemima,” “homeboy,” and “you people.”

As if that were not enough, it is alleged that the managers also imitated speech patterns of black employees, and denied them breaks while allowing breaks to white employees. The employees complained numerous times to management however the racial harassment and discrimination continued. Management did not seem to realize how serious the racial harassment was and now that the company must pay over one million dollars I am sure they realize how serious it is. Aside from the settlement amount in this case, I wonder how much money Bahama Breeze will lose as a result of lost revenue from people who don't wish to give this company their business.

“No worker should ever have to endure a racially hostile work environment in order to earn a paycheck,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “It is particularly disturbing when managers engage in and condone the very unlawful conduct they are required to prevent and correct."
November 30, 2009

Victim of Racial Discrimination Receives $1 Million To Settle Lawsuit

Donna Auguste, a high-tech entrepreneur, settled her lawsuit for $1 million against Santa Clara California and Larimar County, Colorado. Santa Clara County will pay Auguste $750,000 and Larimar County will pay $250,000. Auguste filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2003 after she alleged sheriff’s deputies and investigators with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office used false information to obtain a search warrant for her Lyons home. She claims one reason they did this is because of her race-black. She alleged racial discrimination.

Auguste alleged she was harassed and intimidated by Santa Clara authorities after she investigated a sexual assault case involving her nephew, Damon Auguste. The lawsuit claimed California authorities tried to harass and intimidate witnesses and members of Damon Auguste’s family including Donna Auguste. The harassment included having sheriff’s deputies execute a search warrant based on false information from the California authorities.


November 27, 2009

Reverse Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Settles For $145,000

William E. Hill, a white man was once the city of Dayton's director of Information and Technology Services until he was fired by former black City Manager Rashad Young. This led to Hill filing a claim of reverse discrimination alleging racial discrimination. The Dayton City Commission will pay a $145,000 to settle this racial discrimination lawsuit.

To further complicate matters, city records show that during Young’s tenure as a manager, half of the 24 employees he hired were white men. The problems began because of a dispute over other employees and in the end Young and Hill were pitted against each other. An exhaustive investigation was completed and in the end the city decided settling was the most practical approach.

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 19, 2009

NPMG Pays $415,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

NPMG Acquisition Sub, LLC, ("NPMG") agreed to pay $415,000 and in addition to other relief as part of a racial discrimination lawsuit settlement. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a group of three African American workers who were subjected to to racial slurs and epithets.

According to the lawsuit two white supervisors engaged in severe verbal abuse which created and perpetuated a racially hostile work environment against black employees. In addition to the $415,000, the company must provide a written apology to the three African American workers on company letterhead, post notices and conduct anti-discrimination training.

“It was unbelievable, the things they said,” said Michael Buckner, one of the discrimination victims. "My supervisors often referred to my fellow African-American employees and me as ‘n-----rs’ and ‘porch monkeys’ and forced us to play so-called ‘Civil War games’ where employees were divided into North and South. They also referred to black children or mixed-race children as ‘porch monkeys’ or ‘Oreo babies.’ On several occasions, I was told to turn off my ‘jigaboo music.’”

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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 8, 2009

Two Females File Discrimination Lawsuit Against Minnesota State University

A discrimination lawsuit has been filed against Minnesota State University ("MSU") by director of the University's Campus Access Program ("CAP"), Tonya Phillips and the program's retention specialist Dalton Crayton, claiming they've been subjected to racial discrimination and retaliation based on their race.

Under federal law Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, retaliation occurs when an employee is fired or has his/her terms and conditions of work changed as a result of making a formal complaint of discrimination. Title VII also protects those individuals who testify, assist or participate in an investigation of illegal activity or those who oppose unlawful employment practices.

University spokesperson Michael Cooper says MSU couldn't comment on the issue because it's pending litigation.The Minnesota State College and University system says MSU is moving to have the case dismissed; that motion will be heard October 23 in US District Court.

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August 27, 2009

William Lott Files Lawsuit In Chicago Against Kenny Construction For Sexual Harassment

An Information Technology analyst for Kenny Construction filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against his female boss in cook county. A copy of the lawsuit is here:Lott Complaint
Lott who is also African-American alleges his white female boss discriminated against him because of his race, also known as racial discrimination. According to the complaint, the female boss, Laura Manaugh was the IT Manager and said the following to Lott: "I love you", Managers and employees end up sleeping together because of the vibe of the working relationship", "You remind me of my husband, he is so good in bed", and "Woman are in control because we have the pussy."

According to the complaint Lott complained about the sexual harassment to human resources and nothing was done to stop the behavior. In fact according to Lott, the workplace became a hostile working environment after he reported the offensive behavior. Lott is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

August 15, 2009

Material Resources Pays $57,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") announced it settled a racial discrimination lawsuit against Material Resources LLC for $50,000 in compensatory damages, payment of $7,500 to an ex-employee and the company will offer anti-discrimination training.

The lawsuit alleged the company doing business as Gateway Co-Packing Co. didn't give a black employee the pay raise and health insurance coverage his white co-workers got. The EEOC says the company then fired the employee after he filed a complaint. This is commonly referred to as retaliation. In Illinois if an employee complains of discriminatory conduct the company cannot then discipline or termination the employee as a result of the employee bringing the discriminatory conduct to the attention of the company.

July 28, 2009

Scrub, Inc., a Chicago Janitorial Services Provider Sued For Racial Discrimination By EEOC

Scrub, Inc., a Chicago janitorial services provider, which provides janitorial services to the airline industry at O'Hare International Airport is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionn ("EEOC") for racial discrimination against African Americans in hiring. The EEOC claims although African American workers were a significant segment of Scrub’s labor market and applied for jobs in large numbers, they consistently made up less than two percent of Scrub’s work force.

Racial discrimination in hiring violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Scrub, Inc., Civil Action No. 09 Cc 4228) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division; the case was assigned to District Judge Suzanne Conlon. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Scrub’s discrim­ination victims. The agency also seeks injunctive relief, including rightful-place hiring of African Americans, training, and instituting policies, practices and programs which provide for equal employment opportunity for black applicants and workers.

“This employer’s hiring practices systematically screened out numerous qualified black victims, and we are suing to seek justice on their behalf,” EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said.”

John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, said, “Assuring the freedom to compete for jobs on a level playing field is one of the fundamental components of the EEOC’s mission. Race discrimination makes free and fair competition impossible, and such discrimination is prohibited by the laws we are charged with enforcing.”


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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 18, 2009

Kodak Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit for $21 Million

Eastman Kodak will pay more than $21 million to settle a pair of racial discrimination lawsuits filed by current and former African-American employees. The lawsuits were filed in 2004 and 2007 by an African-American group of Kodak workers accusing Kodak of discriminating against African-American workers when it came to job hiring, pay and promotions.

An employer may not terminate an employee, retaliate, or take other adverse job action because of race or color. Work rules must be applied uniformly to all employees, regardless of color or race. Policies that have a disproportionately adverse impact on minorities are strictly prohibited.

Kodak released the following statement:

PLAINTIFFS AND EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT OF RACE DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION

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June 28, 2009

United States Supreme Court Gives Union Workers The Shaft

The United States Supreme Court in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 129 S. Ct. 1456 (2009) by a 5-4 vote held that a provision in a collective bargaining agreement ("Agreement") which clearly and unmistakeably requires employees to arbitrate their statutory discrimination claims is enforceable and precludes employees from asserting their statutory claims in state or federal courts. In laymans terms what this means is that if you are in a union and through bargaining the union agrees to settle all employment claims through arbitration, your sole remedy as a union employee is to arbitrate the claim. You will be forever barred from filing a claim in any federal or state court.

This decision does not affect employees who are not in a union as they have not bargained through their representatives the terms of their employment. The types of claims involved could include sexual harassment, gender discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination. Americans with Disabilities, age discrimination, religious discrimination, retaliation claims and sexual orientations claims.

The Court did hold that the Agreement to arbitrate must be "clear and unmistakable". One issue the Court did not address is what happens if the Union does not take the employees claim to arbitration? There are two ways to interpert the Court's decision in Pyett, one the employee would have no further remedy or in that case the employee court take the case to state or federal court, however the latter seems less likely under Pyett.

June 25, 2009

Ryan's Family Steakhouse Pays $500,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Fire Mountain Restaurants LLC, doing business as Ryan’s Family Steakhouse (Ryan’s) settled a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $500,000. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit Ryan’s subjected black and female employees to a sex-based and race-based hostile work environment, as well as adverse terms and conditions of employment. In some instances, african-american workers were terminated because of their race. The EEOC charged that white employees were also harassed because of their association with black coworkers and family members. The mistreatment included being referred to as “n----r lovers” and “race traitors” by white managers.

The EEOC claimed female workers were harassed because of their gender, and all complainants suffered retaliation for reporting the discrimination. The gender-based hostile work environment included male managers physically intimidating women, making sexual advances, and calling them gender-related epithets such as bitches. This is a form of gender discrimination.

“Any company – whether large, mid-sized or small – should know better than to allow discrimination and harassment to run rampant,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “No one should ever have to endure a hostile workplace in order to make a living. Employers that continue to violate federal anti-discrimination laws risk enforcement action by the EEOC.”


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June 23, 2009

Hickory Hills Country Club To Pay $690,000 To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Federal District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer entered a consent decree resolving two lawsuits against Chateau Del Mar, Inc. and Hickory Properties, Inc., known as Hickory Hills Country Club. Under the decree, the defendants are required pay $590,000, including attorneys’ fees, to a class of women who endured a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation, and, in addition, up to another $100,000 to African American applicants who were denied hire because of their race, also known as racial discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") lawsuit, filed on March 25, 2008 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alleged that the principal and manager of the facility sexually harassed a class of women employees over a period of years and refused to hire African American applicants. Female employees were called derogatory names and belittled as well as enduring sexual advances and, in some instances, physical assaults.

Shortly after three of the women filed their own private federal lawsuit for sexual harassment on October 24, 2007 (captioned Curry, Knable, & Raddatz v. Chateau Del Mar, Inc., Steven Gianakas, and Hickory Properties, Inc., No. 07 C 6021), Chateau Del Mar and Steven Gianakas sued them in Illinois state court. Their seven-count complaint alleged a wide variety of claimed wrongs, including, but not limited to, physical and mental injuries, “tripping and pushing Gianakas,” breach of fiduciary duty, and destroying property. (Chateau Del Mar and Steven P. Gianakas v. Knable, et al, Circuit Court of Cook County No. 2007L012463.)

“This serious and ongoing harassment of women was unconscionable enough. Then these defendants made a bad situation worse by punishing the victims for engaging in protected activity,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This kind of retaliation is plainly illegal, even if it is cleverly disguised as a supposedly legitimate lawsuit.”

An EEOC investigation determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the women were sued because they exercised their federally protected rights to protest discrimination. The circuit court of Cook County dismissed the lawsuit Chateau Del Mar and Gianakas had filed. Thereafter, the EEOC filed a second lawsuit on September 22, 2008 against Chateau Del Mar for retaliation. The three individual private plaintiffs intervened in the EEOC’s retaliation case, and all three suits were docketed as related cases before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.

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June 5, 2009

EEOC Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit With Supermarket for $30,000

West Front Street Foods, a North Carolina supermarket has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") lawsuit involving a white member of staff being allegedly racially discriminated against.

The EEOC alleged that West Front Street Foods fired a white, non-Hispanic meat cutter, from a Compare Foods supermarket in Statesville because of his race and national origin and then replaced him with a Hispanic worker.

Along with paying $30,000, West Front Street Foods shall distribute a formal, written anti-discrimination policy; provide periodic training to all its employees on the policy and on federal law's prohibition against national origin and race discrimination; and send periodic reports to the EEOC concerning employees who are fired or resign.

May 26, 2009

Damages In A Sexual Harassment Case

Although the title suggests damages in a sexual harassment case, these damages are also available in most discrimination cases.
1. Economic Damages--consist of back and front pay plus incidentals. Included in this calculation are benefits. Back pay is the amount of money equal to wages an employee would have earned, including all benefits from the date of discharge through the date of final judgment. Front pay is an amount of money equal to wages and benefits the employee will lose in the future because of a lower paying job or no job at all. Incidentals may be relocation costs, education costs for retraining and costs for tools if required at a new position.

2. Emotional Distress Damages--There is new specific formula for this calculation and there are many factors to consider including, the credibility of the employee, length of employment, believeability of witnesses, prior or pre-existing similar injuries, nature and extent of counseling or other medical treatment, and strength of the underlying case.

3. Punitive Damages--Under Title VII and ADA violations punitive damages may be awarded. In order to recover the employee must prove the employer engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory practices with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the employee, but also that liability for the punitive damages should be imputed to the employer.

4. Attorneys' Fees--All federal anti discrimination statutes and those in Illinois provide for the recovery of attorney fees by the prevailing party. Discretion as to the amount is up to the Judge.

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May 12, 2009

Hispanic Workers Awarded $4.3 Millinion in Discrimination Case

A case involving 149 Hispanic warehouse workes has been settled. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and B & H Foto and Electronics Corp. ("B & H") agreed to resolve a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of 149 Hispanic warehouse workers at one of the largest retail sellers of photographic, computer and electronic equipment in New York. B&H will pay $4.3 million to settle the case.

The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that B & H paid Hispanic workers in its warehouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn less than non-Hispanic workers and failed to promote them or provide health benefits because of their national origin. Along with the settlement, the parties agreed to injunctive relief requiring B & H to equalize the wages of Hispanic employees to their non-Hispanic coworkers, conduct employer training, adopt an anti-discrimination policy, post EEOC notices, report to the EEOC, and to be monitored by the EEOC for the next five years.

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April 30, 2009

Female Stock Brokers Settle Gender Discrimination Case For $33 Million

Four female stock brokers sued Citigroup Global Markets Inc. alleging gender discrimination. So, Varner, Orlando and Amochaev, all earned less than their male counterparts and had fewer assets to manage and fewer opportunities to earn more income. The females complained to the company's human resources department about the firms discrimination actions.

The four females filed a lawsuit alleging Citi intentionally maintains policies that lock in, perpetuate, and increase gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e and California Civil Rights Laws. So also alleged race discrimination under Title VII.

Citi responded that there was no difference in treatment between the male and female employees. The parties settled before trial for $33 million plus interest. Citi also agreed to institute several anti-discrimination policies.

April 27, 2009

Tompkins County Sheriff Peter Meskill's Secretary Alleges Sexual Harassment, Racial and Gender Discrimination

Robin Korherr filed a complaint Sept. 12, 2007, with the Division of Human Rights, alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, racial discrimination and retaliation. The Division of Human Rights later found probable cause in the case. Korherr worked June 2003 to August 2007 at the sheriff's office as Sheriff Meskill's confidential secretary. Korherr, also a member of Ithaca Common Council representing the city's Fifth Ward, alleges sexual harassment and retaliation from April 2005 to August 2007.

Korherr claims the sexual harassment began in 2005 when she was going through a divorce. Korherr says on several occasions, Meskill tried to kiss and grope her. Korherr testified that she approached her boss numerous times to rectify the situation and the sheriff would apologize initially, but become aggressive again and continued with the alleged behavior through his re-election in 2006. She also claims she received dozens of drunken phone calls from him.

Korherr says Meskill made it impossible for her to work by taking away her privileges and enforcing new rules and believes it was retaliation, saying it was because "I wouldn't sleep with him."


April 19, 2009

Nordstrom Pays $292,500 To Settle EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit

Nordstrom, Inc. will pay $292,500 to 10 former employees and furnish other remedial measures to settle a harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC had alleged that the department store manager harassed Hispanic and black employees based on their national origin, engaged in racial discrimination and retaliated against those who complained about the harassment.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an alterations department manager at Nordstrom complained that she "hate[d] Hispanics," and that Hispanics were "lazy" and "ignorant." Hispanic tailors were chastised by the alterations manager for speaking to each other in Spanish. The same manager made other derogatory remarks such as "I don't like blacks" and "you're black, you stink." These types of comments are a clear violation of federal law and will always subject a company to liability. Harassment based on national origin, race, and color violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"Employers must act swiftly to correct harassment and prevent abusive conduct," said EEOC Regional Attorney Nora E. Curtin. "Instead of dealing with the despicable racial and ethnic comments, Nordstrom management allowed the harasser to retaliate against the employees for complaining."

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April 17, 2009

Skilled Healthcare Group Pays $450,000 To Settle EEOC Lawsuit Over Discrimination

Skilled Healthcare Group will pay up to $450,000 and offer remedial relief to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination in penalizing the company's Hispanic workers in California and Texas for speaking Spanish in their workplaces. The EEOC Lawsuit alleged Hispanic employees at the company's nursing homes and assisted living facilities were subjected to harassment; and to different terms and conditions of employment, promotion, compensation and treatment because of an English-only rule enforced only against Hispanics, which is a form of racial discrimination.

The EEOC found that 53 current and former Hispanic workers were subjected to the different treatment and harassment. The EEOC said some workers were prohibited from speaking Spanish to Spanish-speaking residents of the facilities and were disciplined for speaking Spanish in the parking lots while on breaks.

"As our country's workforce becomes increasingly diverse, employers must be vigilant in ensuring that if English-only rules are necessary, they are not discriminatory," EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

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April 10, 2009

Illinois Supreme Court Update--Illinois Human Rights Act Doesn't Bar Federal and State Claims

The Illinois Supreme Court held in Blount v. Stroud, 2009 WL 153862 (Ill Sup Ct. 2009) that the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act") doesn't preclude employees who file a claim under the Human Rights Act from bringing other claims based on common law, or federal statutes in state court.

Background

Jerri Blount filed a multicount complaint in Cook County Circuit Court against her former employer Jovon Broadcasting Corporation and the owner and general manager. The two counts of interest to his analysis were her common law retaliatory discharge and retaliation under 42 USC Section 1981. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss claiming the Act precluded her from filing in the circuit court. The court rejected the motion to dismiss and she was ultimately awarded over $3 million dollars by a jury. The appellate court reversed holding the Act deprives Illinois Courts of subject matter jurisdiction. The Illinois Supreme Court heard the case and ruled that whether facts giving rise to a civil rights violation as defined under state law might also give rise to a civil rights violation under definitions found in federal statutes was not relevant and Blount had a right to pursue her claim under federal law in state circuit court.

April 4, 2009

Kennesaw Employees File Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination

The racial comments began on Gary Redd’s first day on the job in Kennesaw’s public works department and they never let up according to his lawsuit. Redd, a native of Korea, said he was called “wetback,” “rice-eater” and “slant-eye.” Two years later, in 2008, he couldn’t take the racial harassment any longer and quit--which is referred to as constructive discharge.

Willie Smith says he has endured racist behavior since he was hired by Kennesaw in 1995. In 1996, he complained about nooses hanging from two city trucks. He says racial slurs like the n-word was used regularly by bosses and co-workers, and a “White Only” sign was taped to a bathroom stall.

Before retiring, the head of the public works department, Woody McFarlin, posted a picture of the old Georgia flag with a slice of watermelon on it. The caption read: “Now, here’s a flag that will appeal to ALL Georgians!” Smith kept reporting the racist behavior. “I couldn’t ever get nothing resolved,” he said.

Smith, Redd and Stanley Mitchell, a 22-year public works employee, filed a racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit against Kennesaw on March 9, 2009.

“I felt like something had to be done to stop this, so it wouldn’t go on with future generations,” Redd said.
March 28, 2009

Restaurant Chain $457,500 to settle EEOC race discrimination lawsuit

N-W ventures, the owner of several restaurants in three states will pay $457,500 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC had charged that N-W Ventures, LLC in Las Vegas subjected a class of African American employees to discrimination, including racial harassment and retaliation. The EEOC alleges eight black employees and other similarly situated individuals were forced to endure racist epithets and insults on many occasions. When some employees complained, managers retaliated against them by instructing supervisors to “get something on them, whether true or not,” and then firing them because of their race and as retaliation for the complaints.

Besides paying $457,500 to the discrimination victims, N-M Ventures LLC is prohibited from discriminating based on race, and from retaliating against any employee because he or she opposed discrimination. Further, the company must establish an appropriate and effective mechanism for handling complaints of discrimination, and provide training for its managers and employees with respect to the law against racial discrimination and harassment and retaliation at its Las Vegas facility.

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March 5, 2009

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge

Five former employees of Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge in Utica Illinois, Leno Campbell, Suzanne Czarnecki, Michael DeLap, Mark Low and Lisa Meyers filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming sexual harassment, racial discrimination and gender discrimination. The lodge's owners are Joseph Hook, Keith and Susan Wolick. The lawsuit also alleges the owners fostered an environment in which sexual harassment of female employees by the male owners was common.

Campbell, an african-american, was the lodge's director of housekeeping and is claiming the owners discriminated against him because of his race including that Wolick often made remarks critical of blacks to other employees and to Campbell himself. Czarnecki the former resort's revenue manager, and Meyers a former reservationist are claiming they were discriminated against because they were women and also allege Hook made sexual remarks and committed assault and battery against them, in that he made physical contact of a sexual nature without their consent.


The resorts attorney Mike Moody had this to say about the lawsuit:

"After an exhaustive investigation by the (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in which Grand Bear cooperated and steadfastly defended against these false charges, the EEOC terminated its investigation and filed no charges against Grand Bear. Grand Bear has every confidence that it will be vindicated in a court of law and denies that it discriminated against anyone in any way."

However, Plaintiff's attorney Erika Pedersen responded by stating:

““The EEOC terminated its investigation of the claims against Grand Bear only because we, the plaintiffs, asked it to. We wanted to advance the litigation to federal court so we asked the EEOC to issue our clients their Notices of Right to Sue, which it is obligated to do. The EEOC made no finding either way and nothing about that process can or should be interpreted as a reflection on the merits of the claims or defenses. The allegations are very disturbing and serve as a reminder that sexual and racial harassment are still significant problems for many employees in this country. Each of our clients hopes that by bringing these claims, the working environment becomes better for current and future employees of Grand Bear and elsewhere.”

By way of background victims of discrimination must first file with the EEOC before they can file in court. In this case it was the intention of the Plaintiffs to proceed to federal court rather than wait for the EEOC to complete its investigation, which can take years. The Plaintiffs fulfilled their obligation by filing charges first with the EEOC and once they exhausted the administrative process, proceeded to court by filing their lawsuit.

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February 27, 2009

Retaliation Claims With The EEOC Growing

According to government statistics, in the last ten years the number of retaliation charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") have increased by 33%, while other charges filed with the EEOC have only increased 2.5%. Under federal law (Title VII), retaliation occurs when an employee is fired or has his/her terms and conditions of work changed as a result of making a formal complaint of discrimination. Title VII also protects those individuals who testify, assist or participate in an investigation of illegal activity or those who oppose unlawful employment practices.

In a recent United States Supreme Court case, CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, 128 S. Ct. 1951 (2008), an employee alleged he was terminated for complaining to management that a black co-worker had been fired for racial reasons which amounted to racial discrimination. The Court concluded 7-2 that if this allegation were true it was actionable and that retaliation claims are included under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

The important point in this case is that when filing a Title VII race discrimination charge, always include a retaliation charge as well because even if the race discrimination charge is unsuccessful, the retaliation charge may succeed and if it does, there will not be any caps on the liability to the employer.

January 24, 2009

Tacoma Department of Labor & Industries Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $800,000

The state of Washington agreed to pay $800,000 to three women to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Labor and Industries. Two of the women, Linda Bang and Janis Fleming, remain at the office. The third, Mercy Fernandez-Figueroa, left the job because of the stress of the harassment. According to the lawsuit Phillip Scott, a co-worker of the women, and Carter Mitchell, a supervisor, harassed and intimidated the women. In addition their manager, Gail Hughes, retaliated against the women according to the lawsuit. The three women reported their concerns to upper management and then Hughes their manager branded them as troublemakers, took away their job privileges, and criticized job performance despite no change in performance according to the News Tribune.

In the lawsuit the women claim the harassment began with Scott and Mitchell making sexual comments, sexual gestures and giving disparate treatment to them. The lawsuit claims Mitchell made unwanted contact with Fernandez-Figueroa as he would rub his genitalia on her leg during an unwanted hug and dry-humped her chair while she sat in it. Additionally, Fernandez-Figueroa reported an e-mail from an unnamed co-worker denigrating her ethnic background, and when she complained to management was told she had to expect that because she was the office’s token Hispanic--which would constitute racial discrimination.

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January 15, 2009

Discrimination Lawsuit Based on Gender, Race, Sex and National Origin Filed Against Nixon Peabody LLP

Lawyer Henry Har filed a multi-count lawsuit against Nixon Peabody LLP in Los Angeles claiming discrimination based on gender, race, sex and national origin. In his lawsuit Har claims his former employer made derogatory comments toward women, homosexuals and minorities. Har claims his co-workers asked him if the office administrator had given him oral sex and made other homophobic comments throughout his employment.

Har who is asian-american claims disparate treatment based on his ethnicity and claims he was treated different that white employees. Disparate treatment bases the claim on whether the claimant was treated different than other employees who are similarly situated. In International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held that disparate treatment occurs when "the employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin."

Har claims he suffered great mental suffering, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma and profound humiliation. He is seeking damages to compensate for his lost earning and benefits, punitive damages for wilful and wanton conduct and other compensatory damages as well as attorney fees.

December 20, 2008

NASCAR Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

The fastest growing sport in history, NASCAR settled a $225 million dollar sexual harassment lawsuit yesterday, the terms of which are confidential. Former NASCAR official Mauricia Grant said she was subjected to racial discrimination and sexual harassment when she worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until her termination in October 2007.

In her lawsuit she alleged 23 specific incidents of sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of racial and gender discrimination. Among Grant's racial discrimination claims, she said she was referred to as "Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba," by co-workers, was often told she worked on "colored people time," and was frightened by one official who routinely made Ku Klux Klan references. Grant also said she was subjected to graphic and lewd jokes and sexual advances from male co-workers, two of whom allegedly exposed themselves to her. After an investigation by NASCAR officials of Grant's claims the two male co-workers who allegedly exposed themselves to her were fired.

The settlement was reached after twelve hours of mediation earlier this month in New York. The mediation session was suggested by U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts after the first court appearance in what was expected to be a multi-year battle between the two sides.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

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