Settlement Saturday

 

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EEOC Sues Halliburton For Breach of Mediation Agreement

Posted April 30, 2016

JACKSON, MS – Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and Boots & Coots, LLC, an oil and gas exploration services company with headquarters in Houston, violated federal law by failing to comply with obligations imposed by a mediated settlement agreement of an employment discrimination charge, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed on March 31. According to EEOC’s suit, Halliburton entered into a mediation settlement agreement with EEOC and the applicant on Feb. 4, 2014, resolving a disability discrimination charge against the company. Among other relief provided, Halliburton promised to rehire the applicant into a position subject to successful employment screening. Despite the applicant’s compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement, Halliburton has since failed to hire him for any position. EEOC contends that Halliburton’s actions constitute breach of the settlement agreement. Further, such alleged conduct violates Title I of the ADA. “Typically, court intervention is not necessary when parties reach a voluntary agreement,” said EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney, C. Emanuel Smith. “This litigation follows numerous efforts at voluntary compliance.”

The EEOC’s suit, EEOC v. Halliburton Energy Service, Inc. and Boots & Coots, LLC d/b/a/ Boots and Coots Services, Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-00233-CWR-FKB, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

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RockTenn to Pay $187,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted April 23, 2016

DETROIT, MI – A paper and packaging manufacturer with a facility located in Battle Creek, will pay $187,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the federal agency announced 4-15-2016.  The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that RockTenn Company violated federal law by failing to reasonably accommodate the disability of Glenn Janisch and firing him during a pre-authorized short-term-disability leave because of his severe coronary artery disease.  According to the  lawsuit, Glen Janisch began working for RockTenn in October of 2010 as the human resources manager for the Battle Creek plant. In January 2011, Janisch underwent open heart coronary bypass surgery and was authorized for short-term disability leave through mid-April 2011. In early March 2011, he received medical clearance  to return to work and promptly notified RockTenn of his return date. Despite Janisch’s imminent return, RockTenn terminated his employment on March 10, 2011.  “The law is clear that a medical leave of absence can be a reasonable accommodation under suitable circumstances,” said Omar Weaver, senior trial attorney for EEOC’s Detroit Field Office. “Employers must provide this type of accommodation, whenever possible, before they prematurely terminate employees with disabilities.”

The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. RockTenn Co. & RockTenn Services, Inc., No. 1:14-cv-00973, against RockTenn in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

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Neenah Paper to Pay $33,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted April 16, 2016

DETROIT, MI – A paper mill will pay $33,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the federal agency announced 4-7-16.  EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Neenah Paper, Inc. violated federal law by refusing to allow Kristoffer Gauthier to return to his job for seven months because of his disability, a seizure disorder. The agency also alleged that, as a condition to return to work, Neenah Paper required Gauthier to take his anti-epileptic medication under observation during his shifts.  The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Gauthier, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires Neenah Paper to post a notice about the lawsuit and employee rights under the ADA. In addition, Neenah Paper must train its man­agers at the Munising plant on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations under the ADA.  “Omar Weaver, senior trial attorney for EEOC’s Detroit Field Office said, “An employer cannot single out an employee who has a disability and impose a unique and over-protective rule on that person as a condition of employment.”

EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Neenah Paper, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-00113, against Neenah Paper in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

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Bank of America Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted April 9, 2016

LAS VEGAS, NV-Bank of America, N.A. will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 4-6-2016.  According to the suit, Bank of America unlawfully denied a reasonable accommodation to a more than 12-year, deaf employee, who worked at a Bank of America vault location in Las Vegas. Rather than communicate with the employee using a sign language interpreter, the employee’s managers and supervisors used other ineffective communication methods, such as writing notes, which were not understandable to him. Discriminating against an employee or job applicant due to their disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act . Richard Burgamy, local director for EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office, said, “We continue to see employers fail to properly engage in the interactive process. We encourage employers to provide all employees with disabilities appropriate reasonable accommodations to ensure they enjoy the equal employment opportunities to which they are entitled.”

The EEOC filed suit in September 2013 EEOC v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., Case No. 2:13-cv-01754-GMN-VCF.

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Presence Health to Pay $500,000 To Conciliate EEOC Class Investigation

Posted April 2, 2016

CHICAGO, IL – Presence Health has agreed to pay $500,000 to conciliate complaints filed with EEOC pursuant to the ADA, the agency announced 3-3-16. The conciliation, a voluntary resolution of the complaint, results from a multi-year EEOC investigation which found that three Presence Health hospitals discriminated against disabled employees. The discrimination occurred when Presence Health failed to return employees on medical leaves to their positions and/or failed to reassign them to other positions, for which they were qualified. Instead, Presence Health terminated the employees or placed them on disability leave.  The conciliation not only provides monetary relief to those who have already been discriminated against, but also ensures the company will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination from occurring in the future. For the next three years, Presence Health will conduct annual ADA training at three of its Chicago locations, revise and disseminate its ADA and reasonable accommodation policies and procedures, report to EEOC regarding disabled employees who were seeking re-employment and/or re-hire, and post an internal notification to its employees of this conciliation.  Presence Health denied the allegations but agreed to conciliate the matter with EEOC and a class of individuals, including the individuals who filed charges.

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EEOC Sues Grisham Farm Products for Requiring Medical Information from Job Applicants

Posted March 26, 2016

ST. LOUIS, MO — Grisham Farm Products, Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo., violated federal law by requiring all job applicants to fill out a three-page health history before they would be considered for a job, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it filed 3-22-16.  The EEOC also alleged Grisham Farm Products does not maintain or retain employment records and applications for employment, as required by law. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Phillip Sullivan, a retired law enforcement officer who sought employment with Grisham Farm Products, was told by the company that if he did not fully complete and submit a three-page health history form with his application, he would not be considered for any job. Because the pre-employment form requested information that could cause an applicant to identify himself or herself as a person with a disability, its use violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), EEOC said. The suit further claimed the form does not comply with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits employers from requesting or requiring genetic information, including medical histories, regarding applicants or their family members, except in limited circumstances allowed by statute.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Grisham Farm Products, Inc., Civil Action No. 6:16-cv-3105, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division.

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Court Enters Permanent Injunction against BNSF Railway In EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Posted March 19, 2016

SEATTLE – A Washington federal court ordered Texas-based BNSF Railway Co. to pay $95,000 to a qualified applicant denied hire because of an old back injury and also awarded permanent injunctive relief, the EEOC announced 3-15-16. The judgment follows an earlier win by EEOC when the court found the railroad giant liable for disability discrimination without the need for a trial. According to the court’s prior order, BNSF violated the ADA “on its face” when it simply stopped its hiring process after Russell Holt disclosed his prior back injury. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Holt, an experienced patrol deputy and criminal investigator, received a conditional job offer for a senior patrol officer position with BNSF Railway in Seattle in 2011. As part of a post-offer medical process, he disclosed a back injury sustained in 2007 and a related MRI test, and at BNSF’s request he had a physical examination, which showed no abnormalities or restrictions. After receiving this information, BNSF required Holt to provide a current MRI at his expense, an out-of-pocket cost of approximately $2,000, since his doctor would not approve an insurance-reimbursable test because Holt was not experiencing any pain. Holt asked BNSF to waive the MRI requirement. The company refused, and when he failed to provide the MRI, BNSF treated Holt as having declined the job, although he had not, EEOC said.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington Case No. C14-1488 MJP.

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AT&T to Pay $250,000 and Reinstate Employee to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted March 12, 2016

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – AT&T, a multi-national telecommunications company, will pay $250,000, reinstate an employee, and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 3-2-16. EEOC had charged the company with failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a visually impaired employee who had worked for the company since 2001. According to the lawsuit, Miguel Meléndez began working as a switch technician in 2001 for a predecessor company, Centennial. In 2008, Meléndez became visually impaired due to diabetes. In 2009, Meléndez’s doctor cleared him to return to work, at which time Meléndez requested a reasonable accommodation for his visual impairment. Specifically, he requested the use of adaptive technology software, which would allow him to use computers and programs to perform the essential functions of his job as switch technician.   Neither AT&T’s predecessor, Centennial, nor AT&T ever provided a response to Meléndez’s request for reasonable accommodation. In the meantime, he was removed from his position and not permitted to return to work, while the company continued to ignore his accommodation request. After waiting over a year and a half for a response to his request, Meléndez was removed from his position.

The EEOC filed suit EEOC v. AT&T, Case 3:11-cv-01964-CCC in U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

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Cessna Aircraft Company to Pay over $160,000 In EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted March 5, 2016

MILWAUKEE, WI – Cessna Aircraft Company will pay $167,500 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 2-18-2016.  EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Wichita, KS based Cessna failed to make the required individualized assessment of the ability of conditional employees to perform the essential functions of jobs but instead relied on workers’ compensation standards. The violations were found in Milwaukee and Wichita based on what appeared to be a company-wide policy. In one case, Cessna required a conditional employee to meet national maximum medical improvement standards to be eligible to work, despite the employee providing medical documentation that he could work without restriction. Cessna rescinded the job offer of this employee on the basis that he would not reach maximum medical improvement within a specified time period. In another case, EEOC said, Cessna withdrew its job offer from an employee with a history of workers’ compensation restrictions without regard for his subsequent improvement and ability to provide medical documentation of his ability to work without restriction.

The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Cessna Aircraft Company No. 2:15-cv-01166, against Cessna in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in September 2015, after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

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Two Hawk Employment Services Sued By EEOC for Disability Discrimination

 Posted February 27, 2016

RALEIGH, NC – A temporary employment agency violated federal law when it asked an applicant illegal medical questions during its application process and then refused to hire the applicant because of her responses to those illegal medical inquiries, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. In addition, the suit alleges that Two Hawk failed to retain employment applications as required by federal law. Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC operates a temporary staffing agency based in Lumberton, N.C. As a staffing agency, Two Hawk places temporary workers at a number of employers. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Nicole Bullard applied for employment with Two Hawk in May 2013 and was required to fill out a medical history form during the application process. The form asked Bullard to identify medical conditions she has or had in the past, as well as to disclose whether she was taking any medications that might affect her ability to perform the essential functions of the job. The form further asked Bullard to state whether she had physical or mental conditions that require accommodation, and whether she had any restrictions in activity. In response to the application’s questions, Bullard disclosed that she was taking two prescription medications. Thereafter, EEOC said, Bullard received a conditional job offer from Two Hawk. During her orientation for work with Two Hawk, Bullard was questioned about her medications, and provided information in response to those questions. The following day, Bullard’s job offer was rescinded and Bullard was told she had not passed a “pre-screening test.”

EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division Civil Action No. 7:16-CV-00026-FL.

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Pharmacy Solutions Pays $85,000 to Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Suit with EEOC

Posted February 20, 2016

DALLAS, TX – Tomeldon Company, Inc., dba Pharmacy Solutions, an Arlington, Texas pharmaceutical compounding business, will pay $85,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 2-17-16.  According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Pharmacy Solutions violated federal law by firing two female employees because of their pregnancies. The suit charged that after Arian Lemon, a former pharmacist at Pharmacy Solutions, started making visits to her doctor, the owner made negative remarks about her pregnancy. The suit also alleged that after Emilee Stephens, a former pharmacy technician, informed the owner that she was pregnant and requested to switch her days off to see her doctor, the owner made negative comments about her pregnancy. The owner fired both employees in the same month.

The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas lawsuit Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-3330-I.

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Randstad Will Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted February 13, 2016

BALTIMORE, MD -Baltimore-based temporary labor agency Randstad, US, LP, will pay $50,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC announced 2-8-2016. EEOC said that after April Cox applied with Randstad in Timonium, Md., for a vacant production laborer position at one of the staffing agency’s clients, Randstad deemed her qualified to advance to the next part of the hiring process. When Randstad’s site manager asked Cox to provide a urine sample for a pre-employment drug test, Cox disclosed that she was in a medically supervised methadone treatment program. The site manager told Cox, “I’m sure we don’t hire people on methadone, but I will contact my supervisor,”according to the suit. EEOC charged that even though Cox repeatedly called back and informed the site manager that she did not have any medical restrictions from performing the laborer job, Randstad told Cox it would not hire her because she used methadone.

The EEOC filed suit EEOC v. Randstad, US, LP, Civil Action No.RDB-15-3354 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.

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NHC Healthcare/Clinton, LLC will Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted February 5, 2016

GREENVILLE, SC – NHC Healthcare/Clinton, LLC, a licensed nursing center that provides a wide array of skilled nursing, therapeutic and rehabilitative services, has agreed to pay $50,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a pregnancy and disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced January 25, 2016.  According to the lawsuit, around Feb. 21, 2002, NHC Healthcare hired Tonya Aria as a full-time licensed practical nurse at its nursing center facility in Clinton, S.C.  Aria suffers from paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), which, without medication, can cause rapid heart rate, numbness in the extremities, tunnel vision and occasional blackouts.  Aria’s PSVT is controlled by medication.  NHC was aware of Aria’s medical condition. In mid-December 2012, Aria learned she was pregnant and stopped taking her PSVT medicine due to possible side effects to her unborn child.  As a result, Aria’s PSVT symptoms became uncon­trolled.  Additionally, Aria’s normal pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue and nausea, were exacer­bated by her PSVT.  Due to her medical condition and pregnancy, Aria was placed on bed rest and was out for three work days in early January 2013.  On Jan. 15, Aria was fired by the director of nursing because of absences related to her pregnancy and PSVT.  EEOC said NHC Healthcare refused to accommodate Aria by allowing her medical leave and subsequently firing her because of her disability and pregnancy.

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P.H. Glatfelter to Pay $180,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted January 31, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA- Glatfelter Company, a global paper manufacturer headquartered in York, Pa., will pay $180,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC announced January 26, 2016.  EEOC charged that Glatfelter required all individuals who applied for or worked in positions involving operation of forklifts or similar motorized industrial equipment to undergo a medical exam­ination and pass a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical qualification standard for the operation of commercial motor vehicles. Federal law does not require drivers of forklifts or similar equipment to pass the DOT standards for commercial motor vehicles. According to the suit, Glatfelter nonetheless applied the DOT standards in a manner that screened out qualified individuals with disabilities.

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Downriver Community Services Will Pay $31,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted January 23, 2016

DETROIT, MI – Downriver Community Services will pay $31,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 1-20-2016.  According to EEOC’s suit, Downriver refused to extend additional unpaid leave to a peer counselor after surgery for a herniated disc, fired her based on her disability, and then refused to rehire her.  An employer may not deny reasonable accommodations to the known limitations of an employee with a disability unless the employer can demonstrate that an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Further, an employer cannot fire or refuse to rehire an employee because the employee has a disability.  EEOC sued Downriver (EEOC v. Downriver Community Services, Civil Action No. 4:15-cv-13060) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

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Pactiv to Pay $1.7 Million to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Class Investigation

 Posted January 16, 2016

CHICAGO – Pactiv LLC, an Illinois-based provider of advanced packing solutions to customers around the world, will pay $1,700,000 to conciliate a disability discrimination charge filed with the EEOC, the agency announced November 5, 2015.  The agreement results from an EEOC investigation which found reasonable cause to believe that Pactiv discriminated against individuals with disabilities by disciplining and discharging them according to its nationwide policies to issue attendance points for medical-related absences; not allowing intermittent leave as a reasonable accommodation; and not allowing leave or an extension of leave as a reasonable accommodation.  Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pactiv agreed to conciliate the matter with EEOC and a class of individuals, including the individual who filed a charge, rather than pursue the matter through litigation.

“Employers need to get this message: Inflexible, strictly enforced leave policies can violate federal law,” said EEOC Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman. “As an employer, make sure you have exceptions for people with disabilities and assess each situation individually. We are pleased that Pactiv has agreed to change its attendance policies at all its facilities to ensure it provides reason­able accommodations where required by the ADA.”

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Joy Mining Machinery Settles EEOC Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act Lawsuit

Posted January 9, 2016

PITTSBURGH, PA – Joy Underground Mining, LLC, will provide significant relief to settle a federal genetic information discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 1-7-16. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, after making conditional employment offers, Joy Mining required applicants to undergo a post-offer medical examination. EEOC charges that Joy Mining improperly requested family medical history on its pre-placement physical form asking applicants if they had a family medical history for “TB, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, [and] Heart Disease.” Such alleged conduct violates the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. GINA also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees, except in very narrow circumstances which do not apply in this case. EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Joy Underground Mining, LLC, t/a Joy Mining Machinery, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01581-CRE, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.The two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides substantial equitable relief and prohibits Joy Mining from violating GINA and engaging in unlawful retaliation. Joy Mining will refrain from inquiring directly or indirectly about genetic information of an applicant, an applicant’s family member, employee, or an employee’s family member except as permitted by GINA. The company will also provide training on GINA to all management and HR personnel with responsibilities related to hiring.

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Beverage Distributors Company to Pay $160,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Posted January 2, 2016

DENVER, CO – Beverage Distributors Company, a wholesale liquor distribution company in Colorado, will pay $160,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 12-7-2015.  According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Michael Sungaila, who is legally blind, worked for Beverage for over four years as a driver’s helper. When the company decided to eliminate his position and instead use contract laborers, Sungaila applied for a position as a night warehouse associate. Beverage offered Sungaila the position subject to a pre-employment medical examination. Following the examination, Beverage withdrew the job offer to Sungaila due to his poor eyesight. The position involves, among other things, loading cases of liquor and kegs of beer into the back of trucks. EEOC contended Sungaila could safely perform the job.  Following a four-day trial in April 2014, an eight-person Denver jury unanimously agreed with EEOC that Beverage intentionally violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it withdrew its job offer to Sungaila because of his impaired eyesight. “Employers cannot make employment decisions based on stereotypical assumptions or speculative fears about people with disabilities,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. Beverage appealed the jury verdict and judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, arguing that the direct threat jury instruction was erroneous, the evidence presented at trial could have allowed the jury to find a failure to mitigate damages, and the district court abused its discretion in awarding Sungaila a tax penalty offset. The Tenth Circuit concluded that the district court did not err in awarding the tax offset, which totaled $18,805. The court’s ruling on the tax offset issue is very important for plaintiffs in the Tenth Circuit because it ensures that they are made whole. The court declined to address Beverage’s argument regarding the mitigation evidence issue. It found that the direct threat instruction did not completely reflect the direct threat standard and remanded the case to the district court for retrial. Another trial was scheduled to begin in February 2016.

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EEOC Sues McDonald’s for Disability Discrimination

Posted December 26, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO. — McDonald’s Corporation violated federal law by refusing to accommodate and hire a deaf applicant, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 12/21/2015. According to the suit, Ricky Washington, who is deaf, applied online for a job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Belton, Mo. in June 2012. Washington indicated on his application that he attended Kansas School for the Deaf. Washington also said he had previous job experience working as a cook and clean-up team member at a McDonald’s restaurant in Louisiana in 2009. When the Belton restaurant manager learned Washington needed a sign language interpreter for his job interview, she canceled the interview and never rescheduled it, despite Washington’s sister volunteering to act as the interpreter. Restaurant management continued to interview and hire new workers after Washington made several attempts to schedule an interview.

EEOC filed its lawsuit EEOC v. McDonald’s Corporation, et al, 4:15-cv-01004-FJG in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

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EEOC Sues Joy Mining Machinery for Violating Genetic Non-Discrimination Act

Posted December 19, 2015

PITTSBURGH – Joy Underground Mining, LLC, trading as Joy Mining Machinery, violated federal law when it required applicants to provide family medical history as part of the hiring process, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it announced December 4, 2015.  According to EEOC’s suit, after making conditional employment offers, Joy Mining required applicants to undergo a post-offer medical examination. EEOC charges that Joy Mining improperly requested family medical history on its
pre-placement physical form asking applicants if they had a family medical history for “TB, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Heart Disease.” Such alleged conduct violates the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. GINA also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees, except in very narrow circumstances which do not apply in this case.

The EEOC filed suit EEOC v. Joy Underground Mining, LLC, t/a Joy Mining Machinery, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01581-CRE in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

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Beverage Distributors Company to Pay $160,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Posted December 12, 2015

DENVER, CO – Beverage Distributors Company will pay $160,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced  12-7-2015. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Michael Sungaila, who is legally blind, worked for Beverage for over four years as a driver’s helper. When the company decided to eliminate his position and instead use contract laborers, Sungaila applied for a position as a night warehouse associate. Beverage offered Sungaila the position subject to a pre-employment medical examination. Following the examination, Beverage withdrew the job offer to Sungaila due to his poor eyesight. The position involves, among other things, loading cases of liquor and kegs of beer into the back of trucks. EEOC contended Sungaila could safely perform the job. Following a four-day trial in April 2014, an eight-person Denver jury unanimously agreed with EEOC that Beverage intentionally violated the ADA when it withdrew its job offer to Sungaila because of his impaired eyesight.

EEOC v. Beverage Distributors Company, LLC, Civil Action No. 11-cv-02557-CMA-CBS

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OHM Concessions Will Pay $151,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted December 5, 2015

BALTIMORE, MD – OHM Concessions Group, LLC, which operates Dunkin’ Donuts stores at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), will pay $151,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced 11-30-2015.  Joan McMahon O’Donnell successfully performed her job duties as a regional manager at the company’s BWI Dunkin’ Donuts locations, according to the suit. After O’Donnell was diagnosed with breast cancer and requested unpaid leave for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Dunkin’ Donuts refused to provide a reasonable accommodation and instead abruptly discharged her because of her disability, EEOC charged.

The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. OHM Concessions Group, LLC, d/b/a Dunkin Donuts, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-01946) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

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EEOC Sues Correct Care Solutions for Disability Discrimination

Posted November 28, 2015

COLUMBIA, SC – Correct Care Solutions, LLC, a Kansas corporation that provides medical services to incarcerated people in correctional institutions nationwide, discriminated against an employee with a disability when it forced her to take medical leave and then unlawfully discharged her, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it filed 11-19-15.  According to EEOC’s complaint, Kevicia D. Cody was hired by Correct Care as a licensed practical nurse in April 2012 to work at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia. In April 2010, Cody began experiencing seizures, which are currently controlled by medication.  According to EEOC, Cody’s seizures qualify as a disability under the ADA. In January 2013, Correct Care learned about Cody’s seizure disorder and the company’s director of nursing required Cody to provide medical clearance in order to continue her employment.  Later the same day, Cody provided a note from her treating physician clearing her to return to work with certain restrictions related to her disability. According to the complaint, Cody’s medical restrictions did not affect her ability to perform her job duties. However, Correct Care did not allow Cody to return to work. EEOC said that Correct Care placed Cody on unpaid medical leave and ultimately discharged her on Jan. 30, 2013, due to her disability.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC; Civil Action No.: 3:15-CV-04655-MGL-TER.

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EEOC Sues Randstad for Disability Discrimination

Posted November 21, 2015

BALTIMORE, MD – A temporary labor agency Randstad, violated federal law when it refused to hire a qualified applicant for a laborer position because of her disability, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit announced 11-03-2015.  According to EEOC’s lawsuit, April Cox, a recovering drug addict, has not used illegal drugs since being enrolled in a medically supervised rehabilitation program in 2011.  She receives medically prescribed methadone as part of her ongoing, supervised drug rehabilitation treatment.  In January 2015, she applied with Randstad in Timonium, Md., for a vacant production laborer position at one of the staffing agency’s clients.  Randstad’s site manager told Cox she had enough experience to advance to the next part of the hiring process and requested that Cox provide a urine sample for a pre-employment drug test.  EEOC charges, however, that when Cox disclosed that she was in a medically supervised methadone treatment program, the site manager took back the cup for the urine test and said, “I’m sure we don’t hire people on methadone, but I will contact my supervisor.”  Even though Cox repeatedly called back and informed the site manager that she did not have any medical restrictions from performing the laborer job, Randstad told Cox it would not hire her because she used methadone, EEOC says.

The EEOC filed suit EEOC v. Randstad, US, LP, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-03354-RDB in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

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Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority Discriminated Against Pregnant Female Officers, EEOC & DOJ Found

Posted November 14, 2015

NEW YORK, NY – Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), the law enforcement division of the TBTA Operating Force, will pay $206,500 and furnish other relief to resolve charges of pregnancy discrimination brought by female Bridge and Tunnel Operating Force Officers (BTOFOs), the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Justice  announced 11-10-15. As a result of their investigation, EEOC and DOJ found that the TBTA has engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful sex discrimination against female BTOFOs, when it declared these officers unfit for duty solely because they were pregnant. These female officers were denied equal terms, conditions and privileges of employment afforded to male officers, EEOC and DOJ said. Specifically, pregnant officers were directed to turn in their firearms and were transferred to unfavorable assignments. The medical documentation female officers provided to TBTA from the officers’ doctors to indicate their “fitness for duty” status was rejected by TBTA’s medical staff.

“An employer cannot rely on stereotypes about pregnant employees in making decisions on their ability or inability to work,” said Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC’s New York District. “Such conduct is unlawful as well as unfair and counterproductive. Eradicating pregnancy discrimination is an EEOC priority.”

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EEOC Nationwide Disability Discrimination Case Against Autozone to Proceed

Posted November 7, 2015

CHICAGO, IL – A federal district court has denied a request by auto parts retailer AutoZone to limit the scope of a nationwide disability discrimination case brought by the EEOC, the agency announced 11-3-2015.  The district court rejected the company’s argument that EEOC did not conduct an adequate, “nationwide” investigation prior to filing suit.  The company requested that the suit be limited to just three of the company’s many retail stores as a result.  According to its website, AutoZone operates several thousand stores in 48 states and Puerto Rico.
EEOC filed suit in May 2014, alleging that from 2009 until at least 2011, the company assessed employees attendance “points” for absences, without permitting any general exception for disability-related absences.  As a result, the complaint alleges, qualified employees with disabilities with even modest numbers of disability-related absences were fired, in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The case (EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 14-cv- 3855) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

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Emory University Hospital Sued By EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Posted October 31, 2015

ATLANTA – Emory University Hospital, which operates in midtown Atlanta, violated federal law by denying an employee with a disability a reasonable accommodation and then unlawfully firing him for that reason, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.  According to EEOC’s suit, Emory subjected a disabled veteran, Kendall McCoy, to discrimination by denying him a two-week leave extension after he had emergency surgery. Although Emory was fully aware that McCoy was scheduled to return on Oct. 12, 2012, it hired an employee to take McCoy’s position ten days before that. McCoy filed a disability discrimination charge with EEOC in January 2013.  “One would expect that a hospital, of all places, would show understanding and fairness toward an employee who had recently had emergency surgery,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “In this case, Emory would not have incurred an undue hardship by allowing Mr. McCoy to resume his job on his scheduled return date. His termination was unlawful, and EEOC is here to fight for people in such a position.”

The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No., 1:15-cv-03407, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

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Austin’s Park N Pizza Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Posted October 24, 2015

AUSTIN, TX –  Austin’s Park N Pizza, a Pflugerville-based amusement park, violated federal law by firing an employee because of his intellectual disabilities after denying him a reasonable work accommodation, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed October 1, 2015.  According to the Commission’s lawsuit, an employee with mental impairments caused by traumatic brain injuries experienced as a child, worked for Austin’s for approximately four years performing maintenance and custodial work. He only experienced difficulties logging in and out of work after Austin’s implemented a new computerized timekeeping system.  When the employee’s mother and legal guardian noticed he had not been paid for several months, she contacted the general manager to find out why he was not being paid. After the general manager informed her that her son was having difficulties using the time-keeping system, she requested the company consider alternative methods for keeping track of his hours. The company refused to consider such accommodations and terminated him several months later.

The Commission filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Austin’s FEC, LLC and Austin Entertainment Center, LP d/b/a Austin’s Park N Pizza, Civil Action No.1-15-cv-00873).

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EEOC Sues Safeway, Inc. For Disability Discrimination

Posted October 17, 2015

BALTIMORE -Safeway, Inc., a leading grocery store chain, violated federal law when it refused to accommodate a clerk and terminated her because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit announced October 1, 2015.
According to EEOC, Patricia Bonds worked as a food clerk at Safeway’s Westminster, MD. store, when she sustained a work-related injury that caused adhesive capsulitis and a torn rotator cuff in her right shoulder.
As a result, she was substantially limited in her musculoskeletal functioning and lifting ability. Safeway initially accommodated Bonds’ disability by reassigning her to work at the customer service desk.
Despite her satisfactory performance, Safeway placed Bonds on unpaid, indefinite leave, claiming she had exhausted her time limit for modified duty. Safeway refused to grant Bonds’ request for a reasonable accommodation by allowing her to continue working at the customer service desk and, instead, unlawfully fired her.

EEOC filed suit EEOC v. Safeway Inc., in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.

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EEOC Sues Media Star Promotions For Disability Discrimination

Posted October 10, 2015

BALTIMORE, MD – Cosmic Concepts, Ltd., trading as Media Star Promotions, violated federal law when it refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to a field representative with a disability, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit announced 10-2-15. EEOC also charged that the company unlawfully demanded that she waive her rights under the ADA and then fired her based on her disability and refusal to sign the waiver.  Amanda Matherly began working as a field representative at Media Star’s Baltimore headquarters. As a field representative, her duties included traveling to outdoor festivals to distribute free product samples and gather customer contact information. Matherly has several allergies, including a severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. If she is exposed to peanuts or tree nuts, she will go into anaphylactic shock, and must be immediately injected with medication and hospitalized to prevent death, according to the suit. EEOC says that Matherly requested that Media Star reasonably accommodate her disability by providing vinyl gloves for her to handle a small number of items at company headquarters that may have been exposed to peanuts and to alert hotels and airlines about her allergies when making her travel arrangements.  EEOC charged that Media Star refused to accommodate Matherly’s disability and instead improperly asked her to sign a form purporting to waive her rights under the ADA. When she refused, the company terminated her because of her disability and in retaliation for, and in interference of, her exercise of her rights under the ADA, according to the lawsuit.

EEOC filed suit EEOC v. Cosmic Concepts, Ltd., t/a Media Star Promotions, Civil Action No.1:15-cv-02975-CCB in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.

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EEOC Sues Cessna for Disability Discrimination

Posted October 3, 2015

MILWAUKEE, WI – Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company violated federal law by rescinding job offers to applicants — who were medically qualified to perform the jobs — because of generalized standards that were not relevant to the individual employee, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 9/29/2015. These standards included workers’ compensation maximum medical improvement standards, EEOC said.  According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Cessna rescinded job offers to William Cote, Clark Buehler and a class of similarly situated individuals at facilities throughout the country when it learned of their medical conditions. Cote, who was offered a position as a mechanical inspector, passed his post-offer medical examination, but advised Cessna that he was scheduled for outpatient surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cessna took back his job offer on the basis of the workers’ compensation estimate of average time for recovery from such surgery, despite his own physician’s report that he was able to work without restrictions.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Cessna Aircraft Co., Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01166-LA).

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EEOC Sues Dehaven’s Transfer & Storage, Inc. for Pregnancy Discrimination

Posted September 26, 2015

DURHAM, N.C. – DeHaven’s Transfer & Storage, Inc., a residential and commercial moving company, violated federal law when it fired a female employee because she was pregnant,EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 9-22-15.  According to EEOC’s complaint, in October 2013, Heather Centeno began working as a packer at the DeHaven’s facility.  In April 2014, DeHaven’s business manager learned the Centeno was pregnant.  In May 2014, the business manager told Centeno that preg­nant women should not be doing the packer job, saying it was unsafe. Centeno explained that her doctor said it was safe for her to work as a packer.  Several weeks later, around June 13, 2014, DeHaven’s business manager again expressed concern to Centeno that she should not work while pregnant.  The same day, the company owner told Centeno’s crew leader that he should not bring Centeno to work any longer because of her size, and stated that she looked terrible.  DeHaven’s fired Centeno that same day.

EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. DeHaven’s Transfer & Storage, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:15-CV-00768.

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Orion Energy Systems To Pay $160,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted September 19, 2015

MILWAUKEE, WI — Energy-efficient lighting designer and manufacturer Orion Energy Systems will pay $160,000 and furnish other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced September 9, 2015.  According to the lawsuit, Orion fired IT employee Scott Conant after he suffered a medical event at work that rendered him with a mobility impairment and required him to use a wheelchair to move distances greater than 15 feet.   EEOC claimed that Orion refused to grant Conant’s request for the reasonable accommodation of installing an automatic door opener. The agency further asserted that Orion fired Conant because of his disability and in retaliation for requesting reasonable accommodations for his disability.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Case Civil Action No. 14-0619 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

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Sharp Healthcare Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Posted September 12, 2015

SAN DIEGO, CA. – Sharp HealthCare, an operator of hospitals and medical facilities, violated federal law when it denied hire to a job applicant because it perceived her as disabled, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed September 1, 2015.  According to the EEOC, in 2012, a job applicant applied for a surgical scrub technician position at the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion, a surgical center in San Diego.  The job applicant was offered the position contingent upon the passage of a post-offer medical examination.  However, EEOC said that Sharp rescinded its employment offer after the exam due to a perceived disability.  Sharp regarded her as disabled due to a minor ankle ailment that would not have affected her job performance, EEOC said.  After the denial of hire, the applicant was hired into the same position at another medical facility.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, EEOC v. Sharp HealthCare, Case No. 3:15-cv-01936-H-KSC.

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EEOC Sues Neenah Paper for Disability Discrimination

Posted September 5, 2015

DETROIT, MI – Neenah Paper, Inc., a manufacturer of various types of premium paper with a paper mill in Munsing, MI, violated federal law by discriminating against a production worker because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion charged in a lawsuit filed 08-27-15.  According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Neenah Paper discriminated against Kris Gauthier because of his seizure disorder. Gauthier was hired as a fourth hand laborer. After he had a seizure at work and was placed on a medical leave of absence, Neenah Paper would not allow Gauthier to return to work without confirmation from a physician that he no longer had his medical condition, EEOC said. Months later, in July 2013, Neenah Paper allowed Gauthier to return to his job on the condition that he take his medication at work under observation – either in the presence of the plant nurse or designated co-workers.

The EEOC filed suit EEOC v. Neenah Paper, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-00113 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

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Target Corporation to Pay $2.8 Million to Resolve EEOC Discrimination Finding

Posted August 29, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Target Corporation, has agreed to pay $2.8 million to resolve a Commissioner’s charge of discrimination.  EEOC found that one of the assessments Target formerly used in its hiring process violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The EEOC determined that this particular assessment performed by psychologists on behalf of Target was a pre-employment medical examination.  Employers are prohibited by the ADA from subjecting applicants to medical examinations prior to an offer of employment.  EEOC found that Target also committed record-keeping violations by failing to maintain records sufficient to assess the impact of its hiring procedures.   EEOC’s investigation revealed that thousands were adversely affected when Target used these assessments in its hiring process.   During EEOC’s investigation, Target discontinued the use of those tests that violated the law.

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Brookdale Senior Living to Pay $112,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted August 22, 2015

DENVER, CO – Brookdale Senior Living Communities, Inc. will pay $112,500 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by EEOC, the agency announced August 17, 2015. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Brookdale discriminated against an employee due to her disability, fibromyalgia.  Bernadine Adams worked for Brookdale as a health and wellness director.  After Adams took leave from work due to symptoms of fibromyalgia, Brookdale refused her request for a temporary modified work schedule, an ergonomic chair, and adjustments to the lighting in her office.  Further, Brookdale required Adams to remain on leave until she was able to return to work without any restrictions or accommodations.  After further requests for accommodation and a discrimination charge, Brookdale fired Adams by letter, stating she “failed to engage in the interactive process within reasonable terms.”

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado Civil Action No. 14-cv-02643-KMT.

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McLane Foodservice to Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted August 15, 2015

MEMPHIS, TN. – McLane Foodservice, Inc., which supplies food service deliveries to fast-food chain restaurants, has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC, the agency announced 7-23-15.  According to EEOC’s suit, McLane violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to hire an applicant because it regarded him as disabled and because the applicant had a record of a disability, having had heatstroke and renal failure. Besides the $40,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins McLane from refusing to hire applicants because of a disability in the future. The decree also requires McLane to provide training on disability discrimination in the work­place, maintain records of any complaints of disability discrimination, and provide annual reports to EEOC.

EEOC filed suit Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-02261 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division.

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Building Materials Manufacturing Corp to Pay $62,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Posted August 8, 2015

ATLANTA, GA – Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation, a roofing materials manufacturer headquartered in Wayne, N.J., will pay $62,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC, the agency announced 7-23-15.  In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that the employer unlawfully terminated a disabled worker from its Savannah facility when it refused to allow him to exercise his seniority rights to “bump” junior employees. According to the lawsuit, the employer’s contract with the United Steelworkers Union included a provision that allowed senior employees to remain employed by “bumping” less senior employees in any layoff situation. Bumping refers to a senior employee removing a less senior employee from a position and assuming the position for himself.  However, Irvin Carter, who had lost his right hand in an accident at the facility nine years earlier, was denied the right to bump junior employees when the company performed a reduction in force in 2012.

The EEOC filed suit on September 19, 2014 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-00205.

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EEOC Sues IDEX Corporation for Disability Discrimination

Posted August 1, 2015

MIAMI, FL – IDEX Corporation, a manufacturer and supplier of fluidics systems with locations nationwide, including multiple posts in Florida, violated federal anti-discrimination law when it terminated a regional manager based on his disability, theEEOC charged in a lawsuit filed on July 27, 2015.   According to the lawsuit, Gregorio Reyes successfully performed his regional manager position at IDEX Corporation, including during the six months in 2011 when he underwent chemotherapy to treat the cancer with which he was diagnosed the year before. During the period of his treatment, however, Reyes’s supervisors repeatedly asked invasive questions about his illness and questioned his ability to perform job tasks. On Dec. 8, 2011, IDEX fired Reyes because of his disability, EEOC says.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Civil Action No. : 2:15-cv-00419-JES-CM.

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Roto Rooter to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Charge

Posted July 25, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — In a conciliation agreement with the EEOC, Roto Rooter Services Company will pay $100,000 to resolve a disability discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced 7-10-15.  An investigation revealed that a Plymouth, MN, Roto Rooter location denied an employee who returned from the Iraq War with service-related disabilities reasonable accommodations to enable him to return to work. Instead Roto Rooter fired the employee. Following the investigation, the EEOC determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the company violated the ADA.  “Firing a war veteran for his disabilities incurred serving his country is just plain wrong and clearly violates federal law,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “However, we appreciate that Roto Rooter worked cooperatively with the EEOC to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation.”

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Aurora Health Care Will Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted July 18, 2015

MILWAUKEE – Aurora Health Care, Inc., a large hospital and health care organization, will pay $80,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 7-13-15.  The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that in 2009, Aurora withdrew a job offer it had made to Kelly Beckwith for a position as hospice care coordinator upon learning during her pre-employment medical examination that she has multiple sclerosis (MS). At the time she applied, Beckwith was working as a nurse and was fully qualified to perform the essential functions of the job.  While Aurora contended Beckwith failed to disclose her MS, the EEOC alleged that the condition was properly disclosed and that Beckwith’s MS was the true reason for the withdrawal of the job offer. The EEOC alleged that Aurora discriminated against Beckwith because of her disability by misusing confidential medical information to discriminate against her.

The EEOC filed suit on Sept. 26, 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Aurora Health Care, Inc., Civil Action No. 12-cv-984.

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EEOC Sues Dunkin’ Donuts for Disability Discrimination

Posted July 11, 2015

BALTIMORE – OHM Concessions Group, LLC, which operates Dunkin’ Donuts stores at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, violated federal law when it refused to provide a regional manager with medical leave and instead fired her because of her disability, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it announced 7-6-15.  According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Joan O’Donnell successfully performed her job duties as a regional manager at the company’s BWI Dunkin’ Donuts locations.  After O’Donnell was diagnosed with breast cancer, she e-mailed the owner to explain her diagnosis and would need surgery.  She also talked to her supervisor about her diagnosis and requested 4 to 8 weeks of unpaid leave for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  The EEOC charged that Dunkin’ Donuts refused to provide a reasonable accommodation and instead abruptly discharged O’Donnell because of her disability just three days before the start of her medical leave.

The EEOC filed suit EEOC v. OHM Concessions Group, LLC, d/b/a Dunkin Donuts, Civil Action No. 15-1946 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.

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New Mexico Orthopaedics Associates Sued by EEOC For Disability Discrimination

Posted July 4, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – New Mexico Orthopaedics Associates, P.C., which owns and operates a medical facility in Albuquerque, discriminated against an employee because of her relationship to a person with disabilities – her toddler daughter, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it filed July 1, 2015.  According to the EEOC’s suit, New Mexico Orthopaedics violated the Americans with Disabilities Act  by terminating Melissa Yalch’s temporary job assignment at their facility and failing to hire her for a full-time permanent position as a medical assistant. The reason, the EEOC said, was Yalch’s daughter, who has several disabilities.  “Workers who have to help relatives with disabilities, especially a small child, have enough challenges on their hands without being treated badly at work or even fired simply because of that association,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “Employers must comply with federal law or be subjected to the EEOC’s vigorous enforcement of it.”

The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. New Mexico Orthopaedics Associates, P.C, 15-CV-00557, in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.

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EEOC Sues Plasma Biological Services for Disability Discrimination

Posted June 27, 2015

MEMPHIS, TN. – Plasma Biological Services, LLC and Interstate Blood Bank, Inc, violated federal law by discriminating against an employee believed to be HIV-positive, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 6/2//15.  According to the EEOC’s suit, Plasma Biological Services placed the employee on a deferred donor list after an initial screening for a plasma donation showed a viral marker for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). After the employee’s supervisor learned that he had been placed on the deferred donor list, the employee was immediately discharged. Subsequent tests showed the employee was actually negative for HIV.  The EEOC also alleged that Plasma Biological Services maintained a policy of terminating any employee who tested positive for a viral marker. It also failed to maintain employee medical records separate from personnel files.

The EEOC filed suit Civil Action in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, No. 2:15-cv-02419.

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United Airlines to Pay over $1 Million To Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Posted June 20, 2015

CHICAGO – In a case that garnered nationwide attention, United Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay more than $1 million and implement changes to settle a federal disability lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 6-11-15. The lawsuit charged that United’s competitive transfer policy violated the ADA. The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship for the employer. By requiring workers with disabilities to compete for vacant positions for which they were qualified and which they needed in order to continue working, the company’s practice frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing employment with United, the EEOC said.  EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo said, “If a disability prevents an employee from returning to work in his or her current position, an employer must consider reassignment. As the Seventh Circuit’s decision highlights, requiring the employee to compete for positions falls short of the ADA’s requirements. Employers should take note: When all other accommodations fail, consider whether your employee can fill a vacant position for which he or she is qualified.”

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McPhee Electric and Bond Brothers to Pay $120,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted June 13, 2015

NEW YORK – McPhee Electric Ltd., a construction company with offices in Connecticut, and Bond Brothers, Inc., a construction management and design company with an office in Connecticut, will pay $120,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC, the agency announced 5/12/15. In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that McPhee and Bond unlawfully refused to hire an applicant as a carpenter because of his disability, dyslexia, which substantially limits his ability to read. The applicant had 15 years of experience as a carpenter. He also had numerous construction safety training certifications and a clean safety record. However, Bond and McPhee refused to hire him after learning about his dyslexia while asserting that the applicant would present a safety risk.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut (Civil Case No.: 14-CV-00587).

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Helmerich & Payne to Pay $59,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted June 6, 2015

TULSA, Okla. – Helmerich & Payne, Inc, a Tulsa-based drilling contractor, will pay a former employee $59,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC, the agency announced 4-22-15.  According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the oil contractor forced a derrick hand at H&P’s Alice, Texas location off the job because he was taking prescribed medications to treat chronic pain associated with a degenerative disk condition. The company ultimately fired the derrick hand, even though he had been deemed fit to return to work by his doctor.  The EEOC’s lawsuit also charged that H&P had engaged in unlawful disability-related inquiries and medical exams of employees and had required all employees to disclose prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs to management.

The EEOC filed suit Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-00573-TCK-FHM, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Tulsa Division.

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First Title & Escrow / Streamline Title & Escrow to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Bias Lawsuit

Posted May 30, 2015

BALTIMORE – Rockville, MD-based First Title & Escrow, Inc., and its related company Streamline Title & Escrow Services, LLC, which operate as a single employer, will pay $95,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC  announced March 13, 2015. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Tamara Littlejohn successfully worked as a title examiner for First Title & Escrow in Rockville when she had to be hospitalized and was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. When she was ready to return to work, Littlejohn requested and was initially permitted to return to work on a part-time basis so she could continue with dialysis. The company later revoked her reasonable accommodation of a part-time schedule and fired her because of her need for reasonable accommodation and/or because of her disability, the EEOC charged.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland –EEOC v. First Title & Escrow, Inc., et al. Civil Action No. 8:14-cv-03083-TDC

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Liberty Chrysler Dealership Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Posted May 23, 2015

RENO, Nev. — Nevada-based dealership Liberty Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge LLC violated federal law when it fired an employee diagnosed with multiple sclerosis instead of accommodating her disability, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 4-28-15.  According to the EEOC, about three months after Shara Rynearson was hired, she notified her supervisor of symptoms that caused her to go to the emergency room in October 2010: a sudden change in vision, numbness in half of her face, and loss of balance. Later Rynearson showed her employer her hospital discharge documents, which included a diagnosis predicting multiple sclerosis.  She also informed her supervisor that the doctors had instructed her not to work until after a medical appointment scheduled for early November to confirm the diagnosis.  She later brought in a doctor’s note excusing her absence from work and reiterating her explanation. The EEOC found that instead of allowing Rynearson to take medical leave for the diagnosis and treatment of her disability, the company fired her on Nov. 5, 2010.

The EEOC filed this suit (temporary case no. 3:15-CV-00232) in U.S. District Court of Nevada after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

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Justice Department Reaches Settlements with Three Public Entities to Remove Barriers to Employment for People with Disabilities

Posted May 16, 2015

The Justice Department announced May 5, 2105 that it reached settlement agreements under Title I of the ADA with the City of Parowan, Utah; the City of Española, New Mexico; and the Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Under the settlement agreements, each public entity agrees not to conduct any medical examinations or make disability-related inquiries of job applicants before a conditional offer of employment is made. Two of the entities must make their online employment opportunities website and job applications conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which are industry guidelines for making web content accessible. “These agreements ensure that job applicants with disabilities will have an equal chance to compete for jobs in the public sector and won’t face illegal questions,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.

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Jewel-Osco to Pay $400,000 to EEOC for its Fees and Costs in Contempt Action

Posted May 9, 2015

CHICAGO, IL – The EEOC filed notice in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on 3-6-15 that the Jewel-Osco chain of grocery stores has agreed to pay $400,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. The payment comes as the result of a Dec. 2, 2014 court order by Judge Ronald Guzman requiring the company to cover such costs. The award was part of the relief granted to the EEOC’s Chicago District Office when it prevailed in a contempt proceeding brought against the company for violations of a previously agreed upon consent decree. That decree was entered to resolve prior EEOC litigation against the company under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in which the agency charged that the company routinely failed to provide reasonable accommodations to employees seeking to return to work from a disability leave.

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Noodles Asian Bistro Sued by EEOC For Pregnancy Discrimination

Posted May 2, 2015

MEMPHIS, TN – Noodles Asian Bistro, Inc., violated federal law when it fired two female servers because of their pregnancies, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 3-4-15. The EEOC also alleged that Noodles Asian Bistro failed to post and keep posted the notice of non-discrimination rights as required by federal law. According to the EEOC’s suit, Noodles fired the two servers after it decided they were too big (due to their pregnancies) to wait tables. “Despite the paternalistic age-old stereotypes that persist about pregnant women and work, not only can women work while pregnant, they have a right to do so,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “To determine that pregnant employees are ‘too big to work’ is blatant disregard for the law. Combating this type of discrimination remains a top priority for this office.”

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division- Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-2153

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EEOC Sues S&B Industry for Disability Discrimination

Posted April 25, 2015

DALLAS, TX – S&B Industry, Inc., a Fort Worth cellphone repair facility, violated federal law by denying employment to two hearing-impaired applicants because of their disability, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it filed 2-26-15.  Katelynn Baker and Tia Rice went together and applied for jobs with S&B Industry, Inc. Baker and Rice went through an interview and orientation process, during which they received badges.  During the orientation, Baker and Rice used American Sign Language to communicate with one another, and the company became aware that they were hearing-impaired.  In a meeting with one of the supervisors, Baker and Rice requested that she provide written information about the positions for which they were applying.  The supervisor initially complied, but then refused to continue writing information for Baker and Rice, thereby refusing to provide them with a reason­able accommodation.  Baker and Rice were told that S&B Industry would not hire them, and their badges were confiscated.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas -Civil Action No. 3:15-00641-D

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Savi Technology Will Pay $20,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted April 18, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – Savi Technology, Inc., a provider of sensor-based analytics, software and hardware, will pay $20,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 3-2-15. The EEOC charged that Savi offered Christine Rowe a job as the director of human resources, but the company rescinded the job offer one day after it learned that she had recently given birth and had surgery related to her pregnancy. Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division- Civil Action No.1:14-cv-1005

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Disability Services Company Sued by EEOC for Discriminating Against Disabled Employees

Posted April 11, 2015

PHOENIX, AZ – ValleyLife, a disability support services company, unlawfully discriminated against disabled employees by refusing to provide them with reasonable accommodations in violation of federal law, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed 2/26/15 in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.  According to the EEOC’s suit, ValleyLife fired employees with disabilities rather than provide them with reasonable accommodations due to its inflexible leave policy.  The policy compelled the termination of employees who had exhausted their paid time off and/or any unpaid leave to which they were eligible under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). ValleyLife forced out one supervisor, Glenn Stephens, due to his need for further surgery when his FMLA leave was exhausted.  ValleyLife did not engage in any interactive process to determine whether any accommodations (including additional leave) were possible, according to the suit.  Stephens had worked for ValleyLife for over ten years at the time of his termination.  The suit also alleges that ValleyLife commingled medical records in employee personnel files and failed to maintain these medical records confidential in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona- Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-00340-GMS.

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Benny Boyd Car Dealership to Pay $250,000 to Former Manager in EEOC Settlement

Posted April 4, 2015

LUBBOCK, TX – Benny Boyd Chevrolet-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Ltd., will pay $250,000 in damages and back pay to former manager Randall Hurst to settle a federal disability discrimination suit, the EEOC announced 2/11/15.  The EEOC had charged the automobile dealership with disability discrimination law by denying a partnership to Hurst because of his multiple sclerosis, subjecting him to a hostile work environment and forcing him to quit as a result.
According to the EEOC’s suit Hurst was wooed away from a lucrative job at another dealership by Benny Boyd to be the General Manager of its Lubbock location.  The EEOC alleged that the compensation package offered Hurst included a promise of partnership. After successfully operating the dealership for several months, Hurst was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and his medical condition was disclosed to the company’s top management staff.  Thereafter, the EEOC contended, the company failed to honor its promise of extending a partnership to Hurst, and he was told that the reason was his MS.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas- Civil Action No. 5:13-CV-0220-C.

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PAM Transport Ordered to Pay $477,399 In EEOC Disability Case

Posted March 28, 2015

DETROIT – PAM Transport, Inc. has been ordered to pay 12 of its former truck drivers a total of $477,399 in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC, the federal agency announced. In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that PAM violated the ADA by subjecting its entire workforce of truck drivers to overly broad medical inquiries. The lawsuit arose from PAM’s medical clearance policy, which required all drivers to notify the company whenever the driver had any contact with a medical professional, including a routine physical. Such alleged conduct violates the ADA which prohibits employers from making medical inquiries of employees unless the inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity. In April 2012, the court issued an order mandating the company to change its medical clearance policy to make medical inquiries of drivers only when they are job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan -Civil Action No. 4:09-13851

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Sony to Pay $85,000 under Decree Resolving EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted March 21, 2015

CHICAGO, IL- Sony Electronics, Inc. will pay $85,000 under a consent decree entered in federal court 12-23-14, ending a lawsuit brought by the EEOC. The EEOC alleged that Sony violated the ADA when it brought about the termination of a woman with a prosthetic leg because of her disability. The employee had been sent by Staffmark Investment, a staffing agency, to inspect Sony televisions on a temporary basis at a facility located in Romeoville, IL. According to the EEOC, on the employee’s second day on the job, a Staffmark employee approached and removed the employee from the worksite, explaining that there were concerns she would be bumped into or knocked down. Julianne Bowman, the EEOC Acting Director who managed the agency’s investigation, said, “We found that although the employee’s removal was executed by Staffmark employees, it was actually prompted by a request from Sony’s management which made Sony complicit in the discrimination.”  The EEOC filed suit against both Staffmark and Sony. The case against Staffmark ended in a consent decree entered June 25, 2013 under which Staffmark paid $100,000 to the employee.

EEOC v. Staffmark Investment LLC and Sony Electronics, Inc., case no. 12-cv-9628

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Jury in EEOC Suit Says Old Dominion Freight Line Must Pay Former Driver $119,612 for Disability Bias

Posted March 14, 2015

FORT SMITH, Ark. – A federal jury has found that Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., a trucking company headquartered in Thomasville, N.C., violated federal disability discrimination law when it denied a reasonable accommodation to a truck driver who self-reported alcohol abuse and then fired him, the EEOC announced 1/16/15. According to the EEOC’s suit, the former driver self-reported an alcohol problem under the company’s “Open Door Policy” seeking assistance from Old Dominion.  The driver and local management were unaware that the company maintained an unwritten policy of not allowing drivers who self-report alcohol abuse to return to driving.  Although Old Dominion would never return the driver to a driving position, the company asserted that it accommodated the driver by offering him a part-time dock position at half the pay and no health benefits.  Old Dominion later charged the driver with job abandonment and terminated him in June 2009. The jury returned a verdict on Thursday afternoon for the EEOC and awarded the former truck driver $119,612 in back pay.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Civil Action No.2:11-CV-02153

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Oakland Children’s Hospital Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted March 7, 2015

OAKLAND, CA- Non-profit Children’s Hospital and Research Center has agreed to pay $300,000 to a former employee with breast cancer and to implement revised policies and training to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced on 2/11/15. According to the EEOC’s suit, CHRC fired Imelda Tamayo because she needed medical leave exceeding the hospital’s six-month policy. Tamayo had worked in the endocrinology department since 3/2009 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 12/2011. Her initial request for two months’ leave to have a double mastectomy was granted. But when her treatment plan required additional leave, Tamayo was fired. On July 10, 2012, during a meeting to discuss her request for extended leave, managers improperly chose to rely on their own assessment that she looked “fragile” and unlikely to return to work, despite her doctor’s note stating that she could resume work in September 2012.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. (Case No. CV 13-5715)

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Baker Wellness Center Illegally Fired Employee Because of Disability

Posted February 28, 2015

NEW ORLEANS — Baker Wellness Center, Inc, an adult day care and wellness center, illegally fired a Direct Service Worker (DSW) because she had a disability–diabetes, and in retaliation for her not giving prohibited medical information on its application, the EEOC alleged in a lawsuit filed 12-31-14. According to the EEOC’s complaint, in October, 2011, Brenda Lanus filled out an application to be a DSW. The suit alleges that Baker Wellness made unlawful medical inquiries on Lanus’s job application, without having first made a conditional offer of employment. The EEOC further alleged that in mid-January, Lanus provided Baker Wellness with a release from her eye doctor, stating that she could return to work and placing no restrictions on her duties. Nevertheless, Baker Wellness fired her immediately, stating in the termination letter: “Brenda Lanus [is] no longer with this facility due to her medical problems which were not disclosed at the time of her hire.”

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of  Louisiana, (Civil Case No. 3:14-CV-00808)

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EEOC Sues The Lash Group for Disability Discrimination

Posted February 21, 2015

BALTIMORE – The Lash Group, a Charlotte, N.C.-based consulting company, refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with post-partum depression and instead fired her because of her disability in violation of federal law, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it announced 10-8-15. According to the suit, Meron Debru worked as a reimbursement case advocate at their Rockville facility when she went on maternity leave.
She received short-term disability benefits while on maternity leave and advised the disability benefits carrier that she needed additional unpaid leave due to post-partum depression, the EEOC said. The Lash Group initially fired her, but later extended her short-term disability leave. When Debru was medically released to return to work, however, The Lash Group did not return her to her position as a reimbursement case advocate because it had filled her position. The company refused to transfer her to
vacant positions for which she was qualified as a reasonable accommodation and instead forced her to find and compete for vacant positions within the company. Debru applied for three vacant positions for which she was qualified, but The Lash Group instead terminated her in violation of federal law, the EEOC said.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division (Civil Action No. 8:14-cv-03091-PJM)

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Kaiser Permanente to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Posted February 14, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the United States, will pay $75,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the agency announced 10-8-14. A food service worker at Kaiser’s San Diego facility has hydrocephalus, which causes difficulties with memory, dizziness and concentration.  Upon hire, the worker requested additional training time and the assistance of a temporary job coach to effectively learn the job and perform the required job duties.  A non-profit organization specializing in assisting people with disabilities – Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) was available to provide the temporary job coaching services free of charge to Kaiser. The EEOC alleged that Kaiser chose to fire the worker rather than grant the reasonable accommodation request.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Civil Case No. 3:13-cv-02062-MMA-WVG),

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EZEFLOW USA, Inc. Will Pay $65,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted February 7, 2015

PITTSBURGH – EZEFLOW USA, a pipe fitting manufacturer located in New Castle, Pa., will pay $65,000 and provide significant equitable relief to resolve a federal disability discrimination lawsuit announced January 9, 2015. The EEOC charged that Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. Marine Corps veteran Adam Brant, who worked as a maintenance technician, requested six weeks of unpaid medical leave when he experienced seizures caused by service-related disabilities. EZEFLOW USA denied the request because Brant was still a probationary employee.  Even though EZEFLOW USA maintains a policy of providing up to 26 weeks of paid leave to non-probationary employees, the company refused to provide Brant with unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation and fired him because of his disability, according to the lawsuit.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No. 02:14-cv-527)

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Kmart Refused to Hire Applicant Because Kidney Disease Precluded Urine Sample

Posted January 31, 2015

BALTIMORE – Kmart Corporation will pay $102,048 to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, EEOC announced January 27, 2015. According to the lawsuit, after Kmart offered Lorenzo Cook a job, he advised the hiring manager that he could not provide a urine sample for the company’s mandatory pre-employment drug screening due to his kidney disease and dialysis. Cook requested a reasonable accommodation such as a blood test, hair test, or other drug test that did not require a urine sample, the EEOC charged.   Kmart refused to provide that alternative test and denied Cook employment because of his disability, according to the suit.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Civil Case No. 13-cv-02576)

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Non-Profit Social Service Agency to Pay $309,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted January 24, 2015

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center (CBHC), a non-profit social service agency in East St. Louis, Illinois, will pay $309,000 to a former employee and provide other relief to settle an U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit, the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged that CBHC violated federal law when it refused to provide a reasonable accommo­dation to employee Pamela Perry and then retaliated against her by refusing to rehire her after she was laid off.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (Civil Case No. 12-cv-1031-JPG-SCW)

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