July 16, 2014

Princeton HealthCare Systems Pays $1.35 Million To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Princeton HealthCare System ("PHCS") pays $1,350,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). According to published accounts PHCS's fixed leave policy failed to consider leave as a reasonable accommodation, in violation of the ADA.

PHCS's leave policy merely tracked the requirements of the federal Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), employee leaves were limited to a maximum of 12 weeks. PHCS's policy meant that employees who were not eligible for FMLA leave were fired after being absent for a short time, and many more were fired once they were out more than 12 weeks.

"Employers must understand that fixed leave policies, by definition, limit the opportunity for the employee and employer to engage in the interactive process and determine whether leave may be a reasonable accommodation under the federal law." said EEOC attorney Rosemary DiSavino
July 15, 2014

Sexual Harassment From The Boss

So you are working in Chicago and the boss is really taking an interest in you. At first you think it is because of your hard work and great ideas. However, as his interest seems directed more toward your personal life, you believe he has other motives. You do your best to keep the conversations professional, but it isn't working. The boss is trying to take you out on a date and you are confused as to what you should do.

First, contact an employment lawyer and get some good legal advice. Under the law, you are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace. if a boss or supervisor is doing the harassment, there is strict liability on the company. In this instance, you could file a complain with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") against the company and your boss individually. Take action and don't let this type of negative thing happen to you.

July 10, 2014

Credit Union Settles Sexual Harassment Case For $75,000

Coast 360 Federal Credit Union will pay $75,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a male employee. According to published accounts, . The male employee was sexually harassed by a member of the credit union. The harassment included gestures of a sexual nature. Even something that seems this minor can end up costing a company a pretty good amount of money.

In this case, the company probably could have settled the case for a good deal less earlier in the proceedings. Many times, companies try to fight the allegations and it cost them more in the long run. The circle the wagons approach, usually doesn't work.

"Federal law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, and employers have the responsibility to protect their staff from such misconduct." said EEOC attorney Timothy Riera
June 21, 2014

Boddy Dodd Institute Inc. Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $40,000

Bobby Dodd Institute, Inc. pays $40,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts, two women, each over 70 years of age, applied for a shared mail clerk position and were extended job offers by the company. The problem for the company occurred when their ages were revealed to the company's CEO, and the job offers were revoked one day before their scheduled start date.

To make things worse, shortly after preventing the older applicants from starting work, the company hired two younger individuals to fill the position. That type of evidence is clear and convincing that age discrimination was occurring. Under the law, a company cannot make a hiring decision based on someones age. In this case, it was clear the company did not wish to hire the older women because of their age.

"The workforce includes many people who suffer discrimination because of their age, and the EEOC is committed to debunking discriminatory stereotypes that affect older workers." said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
June 16, 2014

Metro Special Police & Security Services, Inc. Pays $155,000 To Settle A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Metro Special Police & Security Services, Inc., pays $155,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a group of male employees. According to published accounts, employees James Pedersen, Eric Steele, Daniel Griffis and a class of similarly situated male employees were subjected to sexual harassment by a male captain and a male lieutenant employed by the company. When the harassment is from a supervisor, there is strict liability on the company--as in this case.

The male employees were subjected to a variety of misconduct, including: the captain making offensive sexual comments to his male subordinate employees; soliciting nude pictures from them; asking a male employee to undress in front of him; and soliciting male employees for sex. The captain sounds like a real mad man. I can't imagine working for a person who behaves this way. The captain and lieutenant also allegedly forced male employees to accompany them to a gay strip club while on duty. The Captain also offered promotions to certain male employees in exchange for sex.


"All workers have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment." said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes

June 10, 2014

Basta Pasta Settes Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $200,000

SPOA, LLC and Marathos, LLC, which run the Italian restaurants Basta Pasta pays $200,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Basta Pasta's owner repeatedly subjected female employees, including at least one in her teens, to rampant sexual harassment. The harassment included rubbing his genitalia against the buttocks of some of them, engaging in other unwelcome touching, and frequently making sexually suggestive remarks and crude sexual innuendos.

The restaurant retaliated against a manager who had complained to upper management about the owner's sexually offensive behavior. The restaurant warned the manager to "keep her mouth shut" and then fired her in retaliation for her opposition to the abuse. The restaurant also threatened the manager when she participated in the EEOC investigation, including pressuring her to recant her testimony, according to the lawsuit.

"It is always shocking when a company owner engages in blatant and outrageous sexual harassment," said EEOC attorney Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
June 9, 2014

Winebrenner Transfer, Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $42,000

Winebrenner Transfer, Inc., pays $42,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), after initial settlement talks broke down. According to published accounts, Tina Thompson, a truck driver, believed she was paid less than male drivers based on discussions she had with her male co-workers about differences in compensation. You are not allowed to pay men and women different based solely on their gender. If you do it is called gender discrimination.

Thompson complained several times about perceived pay discrimination based on her gender. The company's owner fired Thompson one day after she sent him a text message saying she believed she was paid less than male co-workers for the same work because she was female. Because the firing occurred within such a short period of time of the complaining, it seems like it was done in retaliation.

"Addressing gender-based pay discrimination and eliminating employment practices that discourage individuals from exercising their rights under our statutes are two of the agency's national priority issues," said EEOC Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "

May 21, 2014

EEOC Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $110,000

Norfolk Southern Railway Company pays $110,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The laws was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") under the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). According to published accounts the company medically disqualified a track maintenance worker because of degenerative disc disease. The company fired him without doing an individualized assessment of whether he could perform the essential functions of his job.

After receiving treatment for his condition and being cleared to return to work by his physician, Norfolk Southern's medical director disqualified him from his job and terminated him without first determining whether his medical condition actually affected his ability to perform the job. You cannot treat an employee different because of a medical condition, if they can still do the job. In this case, the company didn't even give him a chance.

"A primary purpose of the ADA is to prevent employers from making assumptions, whether fueled by prejudice or ignorance, about what employees with disabilities can do in the workplace." said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
May 19, 2014

Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in Illinois

This week, Illinois lawmakers have the opportunity to pass the Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. The Bill acknowledges that domestic workers are "employees" under the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act"). The Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") is in charge of investigating claims under the Act. The Act is the state law prohibiting workplace sexual harassment. Currently, a domestic worker who is the victim of sexual harassment may not file a claim with the IDHR. This will change if the bill becomes law. Employment lawyers should be paying attention to this bill.

This is a very important step in Illinois, ensuring that all workers are covered under the Act. It is wrong to single out certain workers and not grant them the same protections that other workers enjoy. Of course, the burden would still be on the complainant to prove her case just like in any other IDHR case. I am glad the legislature is stepping up to the plate and addressing this issue. Hopefully, this will provide the protection these workers need and deserve.

May 17, 2014

Christian Care Center Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $90,000

Christian Care Center of Johnson City, Inc., pays $90,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") based on violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). This case involved an employee who was fired because of a medical condition. The EEOC is very vigilant in pursuing ADA type cases.

According to published documents, Christian Care Center violated federal law by firing an employee because the individual suffers from human immunodeficiency virus ("HIV"). The fired employee worked for Christian Care Center as a licensed practical nurse for more than a month. When the nursing home learned that the employee was HIV positive, the employee was immediately discharged. You can't take a negative job action against an employee unless it is warranted. In this case, the negative job action was taken based on a medical condition.

"As part of that strategy, the president envisioned that the United States will become a place where people with HIV infections will be free from stigma and discrimination" said EEOC attorney Faye Williams.
May 15, 2014

PJP Health Pays $300,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

PJP Heath, Inc. pays $300,000 to three former employees to settle an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts, the company's management made discriminatory age-related comments and refused to promote one of the claimants based on her age. To make things worse, the employer terminated two employees based on their age and fired a third claimant within three days after an internal meeting with her about her discrimination complaint.

If you are over the age of 40, you can't be singled out for a negative job action because of your age. And if it looks like older workers are being targeted, the EEOC will get involved and put a stop to it. In this case, the company had to pay a large amount of money and they are enduring all of this negative publicity. Companies should do the right thing and treat older workers the same as younger ones.

"This settlement is significant not only for the monetary relief obtained for the victims, but also for the training of the company management that will take place and the new complaint procedures that must be implemented as a result of this EEOC action." said EEOC attorney Robert Rose.
May 9, 2014

Car Dealership Settles Hostile Work Environment For $2 Million

Pitre Inc. a car dealership agreed to settle a same-sex sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count discrimination lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts a former lot manager, James Gallegos, under the direction of Charles Ratliff, Jr., then general manager,subjected a class of men to egregious forms of sexual harassment.

The sexual harassment included shocking sexual comments, frequent solicitations for oral sex, and regular touching, grabbing, and biting of male workers on their buttocks and genitals. This case involved over 50 men, who will all be sharing in the settlement amount.
Pitre retaliated against male employees who objected to the sexually hostile work environment.

"This settlement serves to remedy the egregious sexual harassment that the EEOC alleged the men were subjected to by Pitre," "It also raises awareness that all employees, male and female, are entitled to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and retaliation." said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez.