U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(as of July 2012)
Hill Country Farms d/b/a Henry’s Turkey Service: (S.D. Iowa) filed 4/6/11 by Dallas District Office – The Commission alleged that a class of 31 men with intellectual disabilities was subjected to severe abuse and discrimination for more than 20 years by Defendant’s owners and supervisors in violation of the ADA. The abuse consisted of verbal and physical harassment such as referring to workers as “retarded,” “dumb ass,” “stupid,” hitting, kicking, restricting their freedom of movement, requiring workers to live in deplorable and sub-standard living conditions, paying them only $65 a month for full-time work and failure to provide adequate medical care, among other things. Despite repeated complaints, Defendant’s supervisors, the workers’ purported caretakers, failed to take action.
Dillon Companies, Inc. d/b/a King Soopers: (D. Co.) resolved December 9, 2011 by Phoenix District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, a ten-year employee with intellectual disabilities, was subjected to harassment by supervisors, a head clerk, and a service manager. The harassment consisted of repeated bullying and taunting which ultimately led to the employee’s termination. Defendant, a supermarket chain, failed to take effective corrective action. Case settled for $80,000 in monetary relief and injunctive relief including training to management and reporting, among other things.
Target Corporation: (C.D. Cal.) resolved July 21, 2011 by Los Angeles District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, a cart attendant with cerebral palsy, limited intellectual functioning and a seizure disorder, was denied a job coach as a reasonable accommodation. When charging party was initially hired, Defendant provided him with a job coach to assist him in his tasks as part-time stocker. He subsequently held the position of cart attendant and continued to request reasonable accommodation. Defendant failed to ensure the presence of a job coach during work-related and job performance meetings. Defendant also reduced charging party’s work hours after he returned from a medical leave of absence. Case settled for $160,000 in monetary relief and injunctive relief.
Alstrun, LLP d/b/a McDonald’s: (E.D. Penn.) resolved March 2, 2010 by Philadelphia District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, a parking lot and lobby worker at the restaurant, was discriminated against when he was harassed by his supervisor, other managers and co-workers because of his disabilities, i.e. intellectual disability. The harassment consisted of derogatory name calling such as “dumb,” “retarded” and “stupid” as well as physical shoving, grabbing and threats. Defendant failed to prevent the harassment despite repeated complaints and the employee was forced to quit. Case settled for $90,000 and injunctive relief.
Moore and Moore, Inc. and Clayton Ranch Market Inc., d/b/a Clayton Ranch Market: (D. N.M.) resolved 7/19/10 by Phoenix District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, an applicant with intellectual disability, was denied a job because of his disability. Defendant, a grocery store, refused to hire the charging party despite being qualified for available job positions. The case settled for $30,000.00 in monetary relief and injunctive relief such as training, postings, and reporting.
Swissôtel Employment Services L.L.C. and Swissôtel Chicago, Inc.: (N.D. Ill.) resolved on June 30, 2009 by Chicago District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, who worked as a steward cleaning floors and washing dishes, was subjected to a hostile work environment due to his mental impairment. His supervisor called him a “retard,” swore at him, and threatened to have him fired. He also scheduled the charging party to back-to-back shifts something that was not required of other employees. Despite repeated complaints to human resources department, Defendant failed to take corrective action. Defendant ultimately terminated the charging party in retaliation for having complained of discrimination. Case settled for $90,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: (W.D. Mo.) resolved on April 18, 2008 by St. Louis District Office - The Commission alleged that charging party, an applicant with cerebral palsy, was not hired by Defendant due to his disability. Charging party was in a wheelchair when he appeared for his interview. At that time, Defendant told him he was best suited for the greeter position. However, defendant refusing to offer him any job, because it argued that he would pose a safety risk to himself or customers if he worked at the store using a wheelchair or crutches. The case was dismissed at summary judgment stage but reversed on appeal by 8th Circuit. The case settled for $300,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief including notification to Kansas City-area job services agencies stating it encourages applications from persons with disabilities, among other things.
Capital Pizza Huts, Inc., d/b/a Capital Pizza Huts of Vermont: (D. Vt.) resolved on May 7, 2007 by New York District Office - The Commission alleged that charging party, a dishwasher/cleaner with Down syndrome, was discharged because of his disability. The charging party, a 13 year employee with Defendant was fired after manager notified charging party’s mother and state healthcare and rehabilitation agency stating that defendant “should not lose money by paying [the employee] to do nothing when he could have someone ‘normal’ doing the job.” “These kinds of people shouldn’t work,” he added. The manager was subsequently fired for poor judgment and rudeness to various Pizza Hut employees. Case settled for $55,000 in monetary relief and injunctive relief, including an offer of reinstatement to charging party, designation of liaison to job coach/placement agency for persons with disabilities, among other things.
Luby’s, Inc.: (D. Ariz.) resolved April 19, 2006 by Phoenix District Office - The Commission alleged that charging party, a floor attendant with an intellectual disability, was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her disability. Defendant, restaurant chain, had accommodated charging party by providing a job coach for her but when a new manager took over, he refused to repeat instructions, berated her, told her to “shut up” when she asked about her job duties, and got impatient and angry with her for working and speaking slowly. The new manager also permitted coworkers to mimic her speech, tease her about stuttering, bark at her, and threaten to hurt her with a bread slicer. Despite repeated complaints, no action was taken. Charging party was further retaliated against and ultimately was forced to resign, i.e. constructively discharged. Case settled for $90,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief as well as attorney’s fees in amount of $60,000 to the Arizona Center for Disability Law, which represented her in intervening in EEOC’s suit.
The Home Depot USA, Inc.: (E.D.N.Y.) resolved on October 17, 2005 by New York District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, a sales associate with intellectual disability, was denied a reasonable accommodation and subsequently discharged because of her disability. Charging party was fired after 5 months on the job for failing to report to work on three consecutive weekends. Charging Party and her father notified Defendant that unidentified persons instructed her over the phone not to show up on those weekends. Defendant proceeded to fire charging party despite her claim and without communicating with her job coach. Case settled for $75,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Spylen of Denville, Inc., d/b/a/ Wendy's: (D. N.J.) resolved on March 11, 2004 by Philadelphia District Office – The Commission alleged that charging party, employee with Down syndrome, was repeatedly harassed by management staff and coworkers. The harassment consisted of name calling and use of profanities as well as physical assaults, including co-workers placing a knife against his stomach, putting ice down his clothes, throwing water in his face, and shoving him. Defendant, fast food restaurant, failed to take corrective action and therefore, charging party was forced to resign, i.e. constructive discharge. Case was settled for $90,000 in monetary relief and injunctive relief.
Renaissance Roofing, Inc.: (N.D. Ill.) resolved on June 30, 2003 by Chicago District Office - The Commission alleged that charging party, a roofer with intellectual disabilities, was subjected to harassment, failure to recall and discharged because of his disability, i.e. mild mental retardation. Defendant’s owners and management repeatedly made disparaging comments such as "stupid" and "doufus," and asked whether charging party was "just stupid or retarded." Case settled for $50,000 in monetary relief ($9,000 of which was for attorney’s fees) and injunctive relief.
GMRI, Inc., d/b/a The Olive Garden – (D.N.H.) resolved on April 3, 2002 by New York District Office - The Commission alleged that charging party, a dishwasher with intellectual disabilities, was subjected to physical and verbal harassment by co-workers due to his disability. The harassment included but was not limited to putting him in a headlock, pulling down his pants in front of coworkers, and calling him offensive names. When he began to have difficulty on the job because of the abuse, Defendant fired him. Case settled for $115,000 in monetary relief and injunctive relief.
Showbiz Pizza Time Inc., d/b/a Chuck E. Cheese: (W.D. Wis.) Over $13 million jury verdict entered on November 4, 1999 affirmed by district court on March 15, 2000. Case litigated by Milwaukee District Office – A jury found that the charging party, a custodian with intellectual disabilities, was fired by Defendant’s district manager because he did not want "those people" working in restaurant. The jury rejected the company's argument that the employee suffered no more than minimal, if any, pain and suffering because his mental retardation prevented him from experiencing much distress from being fired. The jury awarded the employee $70,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress and $13 million in punitive damages (which was later reduced to $230,000 because of the statutory cap on damages). The judge also ordered the company to provide back pay and reinstate the employee.