Employment and Workplace Issues




Bias Lawsuit Against Bank Dismissed
Americas

Reuters reports that a group of black financial advisers at the former Merrill Lynch & Co who filed a lawsuit against Bank of America (BofA), alleging “systematic discrimination in hiring, pay and promotions” as compared to their white counterparts, have had their case dismissed. The brokers reportedly complained that white brokers received the more lucrative accounts and that their bonuses were based on fees earned on clients assets causing them to be “grossly underrepresented in top quintiles and overrepresented in bottom quintiles” . Reportedly, the court did not find evidence that the bonus program was designed to discriminate.
Reuters: Black brokers lose bias suit against BofA/Merrill (30 March 2011)
(Source: Reuters)


Company Agrees to Pay US$750,000 in Back Wages
Americas

The US Department of Labor (DoL) has announced that Arizona Pipeline Co has agreed to pay US$750,000 in back wages to 740 employees following a finding that the company breached overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Investigations found that employees were not paid for “pre-shift and post-shift time required for loading and unloading material, cleaning trucks or picking up equipment”. Additionally, the company did not reimburse workers for travel expenses incurred while commuting from the company to job sites, did not pay them for monthly meetings and “docked a half-hour lunch time from employees’ pay” despite workers taking a shorter lunch break.
DoL’s media release (30 March 2011)
(Source: DoL)


Levi Strauss & Co Agrees to Pay Over US$1 Million in Overtime Back Wages
Americas

The US Department of Labor (DoL) has announced that Levi Strauss & Co has agreed to pay US$1,011,413 in overtime back wages to almost 600 employees following an investigation that uncovered violations of overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company allegedly misclassified workers as being exempt from overtime and failed to adequately record employees’ worked hours in its payroll system.
DoL’s media release (29 March 2011)
(Source: DoL)


Court Affirms Verdict in Sexual Harassment Case
Americas

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that a US Court has upheld a US$65,000 verdict against AutoZone “for creating a sexually hostile work environment” for Autozone employee Stacy Wing. Autozone failed to take appropriate action despite Ms Wing reporting sexual harassment concerns to the company’s management, involving an Autozone store manager’s conduct. 
EEOC’s media release (18 March 2011)
(Source: EEOC)


Pregnancy Discrimination Suit Settled
Americas

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC against Durable Contract Services (DCS) has ended in a US$35,000 consent decree. DCS allegedly dismissed an employee, Tenisha Yarbrough, after she disclosed to her supervisor that she was pregnant, despite being able and willing to continue working. DCS claimed that Ms Yarbrough’s attendance records and health concerns during her pregnancy were reasons for the termination of her employment. In addition to the payment damages, DCS is prohibited from engaging in discriminatory and retaliatory conduct in the future, and is required to provide adequate training to staff.
EEOC’s media release (15 March 2011)
(Source: EEOC)