Respect in the Workplace




US Justice Department Settles Government Employment Discrimination Case
Americas

The United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Pierce County, Washington has agreed to enter a consent decree with regards to allegations that the county, through its agents at the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer’s Office, had discriminated against administrative officer Sally Barnes because she had engaged in activity protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DoJ alleged that Ms Barnes had suffered “multiple adverse employment actions’ between 22 January and 30 November 2009, “including the loss of her administrative officer and other supervisory duties, exclusion from important meetings and information necessary for the management of her division and an involuntary relocation to an undesirable work location”.

DoJ’s media release (1 June 2012)
(Source: DoJ)


Wal-Mart Settles Religious Discrimination Case
Americas

The United States (US) Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that retailer Wal-Mart has agreed to a consent decree under which it must pay US$70,000 in monetary and other remedies to an assistant manager in Seattle, Washington, who was a devout Mormon and had refrained from working on Sundays due to religious observance. Wal-Mart had apparently allowed the employee to do so from 1995 until 2009 when, under a new scheduling system, Wal-Mart began disciplining the employee for missing work on Sundays when he could not find a replacement. The EEOC found Wal-Mart’s actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employees to reasonably accommodate the sincere religious beliefs of an employee unless such accommodation unduly burdened the employer. The consent decree also requires Wal-Mart to provide training to human resources personnel on religious accommodation and anti-retaliation.

EEOC’s media release (1 June 2012)
(Source: EEOC)


Former US Egg Producer Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Americas

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that the US District Court for the Northern District of Iowa “has approved a consent decree settling its sexual harassment lawsuit against Galt, Iowa-based Quality Egg, LLC”, owned and operated by Austin “Jack” DeCoster Revocable Trust. Quality Egg LLC, which is no longer operative, “violated federal civil rights laws by permitting a former manager at its Galt, Iowa egg packaging facility to sexually harass at least two female employees”. The two-year consent decree requires Quality Egg LLC to pay US$85,000 to the former employees. The EEOC noted that it “previously sued a DeCoster operation in the same location and Austin ‘Jack’ DeCoster in his individual capacity in 2002″ over allegations of “sexual assault and rape by supervisors” of undocumented female employees.

EEOC’s media release (5 June 2012)
(Source: EEOC)


US University Settles Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
Americas

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Chapman University (Chapman) in California has agreed to pay US$175,000 to a former assistant professor to settle charges of sex discrimination. Lynn Hamrick filed a complaint with the EEOC in 2008 “alleging that in 2007 she was denied tenure – a promotion to the position of associate professor – because she is a woman”. An EEOC investigation “determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that Chapman’s decision to deny tenure to [Ms] Hamrick was linked to her sex, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act [of 1964]“. Chapman has agreed to promote Ms Hamrick to the position of associate professor for the purposes of future employment and has agreed to train its employees on sex discrimination.

EEOC’s media release (6 June 2012)
(Source: EEOC)


US Pharmaceutical Company Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Americas

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that MD Wholesale has arrived at a settlement with the EEOC over allegations of sexual harassment of two female employees by their male supervisor at the MD Wholesale’s facility in Taminung, Guam. According to the EEOC, the harassment occurred since at least 2008 and “[t]he company did not have an anti-harassment policy in place at the time the harassment occurred”. Additionally, the EEOC said that MD Wholesale “failed to take effective action to stop the harassment, despite complaints to an assistant manager”. The settlement involves a three-year consent decree “requiring MD Wholesale to revise its sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure and retain an equal employment opportunity (EEO) coordinator to ensure all staff are trained regarding their rights with respect to discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the  workplace”. The company will also provide training to management and human resources staff so that they are better equipped to handle EEO complaints in the future.

EEOC’s media release (24 May 2012)
(Source: EEOC)