Americas




US Construction and Power Companies to Pay US$49,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Garney Construction Company (Garney) and Georgia Power Company will pay US$49,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. According to the EEOC, “Garney offered a front-end loader job to Bryan Mimmovich at its construction site at the Georgia Power plant in Juliette, [Georgia]” and Mr Mimmovich had done a similar job with Garney twice before. However, this contract required applicants to pass a physical examination, and Mr Mimmovich could not pass the examination due to his epilepsy medications, “an automatic bar to drivers pursuant to [Department of Transportation] regulations”. However, Mr Mimmovich had not had a seizure for over eight years, due to his medications, and the EEOC alleged that he was discriminated against “because of his disability without an individuali[s]ed assessment of his ability to perform the job”. According to the EEOC, “both employers have agreed to take specified actions designed to prevent future disability discrimination, including the re-dissemination of anti-discrimination policies and providing additional training to employees regarding pre-employment physicals and disability discrimination”.

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


Former US Egg Producer Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues, Respect in the Workplace

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 Preschool Settles EEOC Unlawful Retaliation Lawsuit
Employment and Workplace Issues

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Starr’s Mill Academy and Preschool Centre (Starr’s Mill) will pay US$40,000 to settle an unlawful retaliation lawsuit. The EEOC noted that it was an unusual case involving retaliation after termination of the employment relationship. Starr’s Mill was alleged to have retaliated unlawfully against former employee Hazel Matthews-Forte “when it filed a lawsuit against her alleging that she made fraudulent statements about Starr’s Mill in her EEOC discrimination charge”. The consent decree requires Starr’s Mill to, inter alia, provide equal employment opportunity training, report to the EEOC and post anti-discrimination notices.

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


US Garden Centre Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Homestead Gardens (Homestead) will pay US$50,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. When Homestead discovered that Richard Starkey had hemophilia, through a conversation with his mother, “[h]e was told not to return to work because of Homestead’s perception of his disability”. The EEOC stated that such conduct was in breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Homestead has signed a consent decree which requires it to, inter alia, implement an effective discrimination complaint process and “refrain from retaliating against any person because that person complained about, or participated in the investigation of, any charge of employment discrimination”, train its staff on anti-discrimination legislation and keep the EEOC informed on its compliance with the consent decree.

EEOC’s media release (6 June 2012)
(Source: EEOC; US Department of Justice)


US University Settles Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
Business Ethics and Corporate Culture, Employment and Workplace Issues, Respect in the Workplace

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)