Americas




US Justice Department Settles Government Employment Discrimination Case
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues, Respect in the Workplace

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)


US Rehabilitation and Nursing Company Settles Discrimination Case
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues

The United States (US) Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Health Partners, Inc., a Southfield, Michigan rehabilitation and nursing company, has agreed to a two-year consent decree that requires it to pay US$25,000 to an employee who could not work after her preliminary skin test was positive for tuberculosis. The EEOC claims that the test requirement violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because Health Partners, Inc. regarded the employee as disabled despite her not being contagious and posing any health risk. The company has also agreed to provide training to hiring process employees on ADA requirements.

EEOC’s media release (30 May 2012)
(Source: EEOC; US Department of Justice)


US Hospital Settles Disability Lawsuit
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues

The United States (US) Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Children’s Hospital Colorado (the Hospital) in Aurora, Colorado has settled a lawsuit arising from the Hospital’s withdrawal of an offer of employment to Cecilia McMurray after it emerged during a mandatory pre-employment health screen that she had fibromyalgia. The Hospital has agreed to enter a consent decree, and must pay US$95,000 to Ms McMurray, in addition to providing training to all hiring process employees on Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

EEOC’s media release (31 May 2012)
(Source: EEOC; US Department of Justice)


Wal-Mart Settles Religious Discrimination Case
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues, Respect in the Workplace

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)


US Health Centre Settles “No Restrictions” Disability Bias Case
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues

The United States (US) Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that a federal judge has approved a consent decree settling the EEOC’s disability discrimination lawsuit against Benedictine Health Center in Innsbruck, Minnesota. The EEOC found that the Benedictine Health Center’s former policy of requiring employees who took a medical leave of absence to return to work with no restrictions, unless the condition was work-related, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the four-year consent decree, Benedictine Health Center must pay US$30,912 to two former employees who were not allowed to work because of their non-work-related physical impairments.

EEOC’s media release (1 June 2012)
(Source: EEOC; US Department of Justice)