Janitor’s EEOC Complaint Ends With Order to Pay $350,000
A nursing home company, Skilled Healthcare Group, must pay a class of Hispanic employees it discriminated against $450,000 “and provide significant remedial relief [because they] were subject to harassment, different terms and conditions of employment, promotion, compensation, and treatment.” The EEOC ordered the company to pay Hispanic employees because the employees had been forbidden from speaking Spanish at work, BUT, other ethnic groups were allowed to speak their own native (non-English) language while working for Silled Healthcare. Because the compnay treated employees differently with respect to their national origin, the EEOC had filed suit against the company in Federal Court in California, alleging discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The suit stemmed from a complaint filed by a single employee, a janitor named Jose Zazueta. Skilled Healthcare fired Mr. Zazueta for violating the company’s English-only policy. At the same time, however, the company did not terminate or discipline other employees who spoke Tagalog at work. Here’s a quote from the EEOC’s own press release about the details:
The EEOC identified a total of 53 current and former Hispanic employees at facilities in California and Texas who were subjected to disparate treatment and harassment based on their national origin and shared Spanish language. The EEOC alleged that some workers were prohibited from speaking Spanish to Spanish-speaking residents of the facility, or disciplined for speaking Spanish in the parking lot while on breaks. Additionally, the EEOC alleged that defendants gave Hispanic employees less desirable work than non-Hispanic counterparts, paid them less, and promoted them less often. http://www.eeoc.gov/press/4-14-09.html
English-Only rules can be legal IF the employer demonstrates that the rule is necessary, and the employer also enforces the rule the same way with all employees. Employers who fail to evenly enforce English-Only rules commit discrimination, whether the employer intends to discriminate or not.
Two Women Complain To EEOC and Employer is Ordered to Pay $267,000
Tineke Meyer and Karina Mercado worked for Sunfire Glass in Arizona. The company’s owner, Paul McBride, touched them inappropriately, talked to the women about their bodies, used vulgar language with them, and made obscene gestures toward them. Both women complained repeatedly, but nothing changed. Eventually both Meyer and Mercado quit their jobs and Sunfire Glass, feeling that they were forced out by the hostile work envioronment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in September on behalf of employees (EEOC v. Sunfire Glass, Inc., Civ. 08-1784 PHX-LOA). It alleged that Sunfire owner Paul McBride touched them inappropriately, made obscene gestures, talked about their bodies and used vulgar language. The women repeatedly complained, but no action was taken, the EEOC said. Both resigned and filed complaints with the EEOC.
The EEOC filed charges against Sunfire and it’s owner Paul McBride in September of 2008. On April 13, 2009, the court awarded Meyer $160,278, and awarded Mercado $106,781. The amounts awarded to each woman included back pay, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest until the amounts are paid. The punitive damage amount awarded to each plaintiff was $50,000.
Sonic Drive-In Franchise Sued For Disability Discrimination
On April 13, 2009 the EEOC filed discrimination charges against a Louisiana based Sonic Drive-In franchise because the restaurant refused to hire a qualified applicant due to the applicant’s disability. Sonic discriminated against the applicant when it refused to hire her as a car hop or cook because of her speech impediment. The suit seeks to force Sonic to pay the applicant back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and interest. The EEOC also stated that “ADA charge filings with the EEOC nationwide increased 10% in Fiscal Year 2008 to 19,543, the highest level of disability discrimination charges since FY 1995.” For the full story click here: http://www.eeoc.gov/press/4-13-09.html