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Significant Financial Pre-Court EEOC Settlements and Jury Awards in Favor of EEOC

2019-11-04

Since September 2019, EEOC obtained over $16.5 million in financial awards to employees and applicants of alleged discrimination

In the past several months there were 10 financial awards or settlements exceeding $400,000.  Two were jury awards of over $5.6 million in favor of EEOC.  Five of the 10 settlements resolved charges of disabilities discrimination whereas three settled national origin and/or race discrimination claims. 

Age
AZ Metro Distributors, LLC [9/26/19] lost their legal battle against EEOC on two claims of age discrimination. The jury awarded $458,000 in lost wages to two sales employees who were discharged on the same day because of their ages. 

Disability
Walmart [10/11/19] lost their legal battle against EEOC and will pay $5.2 million to a longtime employee for failing to continue to provide an accommodation.   The 16-year employee is deaf and visually impaired and worked as a cart pusher in a store in Beloit, WI.  A new store manager suspended the employee and forced him to resubmit medical paperwork in order to keep his reasonable accommodations. Prior to the employee’s suspension, he performed his work with the accommodation of assistance from a job coach provided by public funding.   After the 3 ½ day trial, the jury found in favor of EEOC and awarded the employee $200,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages.

Dish Network [10/9/19] will pay $1.25 million to compensate the initial complainant and other aggrieved applicants who claimed they were denied employment due to an alleged discriminatory online application process.  Dish will retain outside consultants to conduct a job analysis and validity study and to evaluate and revise their online assessment to ensure job relatedness.

Ford Motor Company’s Kentucky Truck Plant [10/1/19] entered into a conciliation agreement and will pay up to $537,760 to 12 individuals for failing to hire applicants with disabilities.  The company allegedly screened out applicants based on criteria not shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity, and failed to use the results of post-offer, pre-employment medical examination results in accordance with the ADA. 

Dignity Health, operating as Mercy Medical Center [9/19/19] entered into a three-year consent decree and will pay $570,000 for failing to accommodate a 10-year cafeteria employee who had survived a severe illness that left her with vision loss.  Requesting to return to work, she informed Mercy of the accommodation that she or the CA Department of Rehabilitation could provide to allow her to perform her job duties.  Instead, the company rejected the suggestions and fired her.

Disability and Harassment
Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) [9/23/19] entered into a consent decree to settle two lawsuits and will pay $925,000 and injunctive relief for failing to engage in an interactive process and denying accommodations to employees with disabilities.  EEOC also alleged that EBG retaliated against employees who requested accommodations, were associated with someone with a disability or who complained about the harassment. 

National Origin or Race
La Cantera Resort and Spa [10/31/19] entered into a two-year consent decree and will pay $2.5 million to Hispanic banquet employees who were subjected to verbal abuse and mistreatment.  Managers implemented a policy forbidding banquet staff from speaking Spanish at anytime and anywhere in the resort. 

Breakthru Beverage Illinois, LLC (BBI) [10/23/19] will pay $950,000 to a class of sales employees who were offered account and territory assignments that, when accepted, resulted in national origin or race discrimination. 

Pregnancy
United Parcel Services, Inc. (UPS) [9/17/19] will pay $2.25 million to employees who, between 2012 and 2014, suffered losses because they were not accommodated during pregnancy, primarily the difference between short-term disability payments they received and the amount they would have received if they had been allowed to work.  In 2015, UPS changed its policy to allow for light duty accommodation for pregnant unionized employees.  UPS agreed to extend the accommodations to both unionized and non-unionized employees. 

Race
Marquez Brothers International, LLC [9/1/19] will pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit for refusing to hire non-Hispanic applicants for unskilled production and warehouse positions.  EEOC alleged that the company discouraged non-Hispanic applicants from applying for open positions, by, among other things, imposing a language requirement not required for the job.  

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.