U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(As of November 8, 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.
On September 18, 2012, a federal judge granted the EEOC's motion for partial summary judgment and ordered Henry's Turkey to pay the charging parties $1.3 million in lawful wages for jobs they performed under contract at a turkey processing plant between 2007 and 2009. The remaining claims regarding the abusive verbal and physical harassment, unnecessary restriction of employee's freedom, and other adverse terms and conditions of employment are reserved for a jury trial scheduled for March 25, 2013.
Creative Networks, LLC: (D. Ariz.) filed 9/28/09 by Phoenix District Office - The Commission alleges that Defendant, a company that provides services to disabled persons, discriminated against Charging Party, a hearing-impaired individual, by failing to provide a sign language interpreter as an accommodation in violation of the ADA. Charging party requested an interpreter in order to complete the pre-employment orientation and training yet, under Defendant's policy or practice interpreting services costing more than $200 were denied.
On September 20, 2012, a federal judge ruled in favor of the EEOC by holding that as a matter of law Defendant failed to accommodate and hire a hearing-impaired applicant because of her disability in violation of the law. After this liability finding, the case will now proceed to damages and injunctive relief.
United Airlines, Inc.: filed June 2009, lower court dismissed and 7th Cir. reversed on 9/7/12 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Commission against United Airlines Inc. The circuit court overturned precedent to agree with the EEOC that "reasonable accommodation" as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to provide employees with disabilities with "reassignment to a vacant position" when the employee cannot be accommodated in his or her current position. The EEOC's suit, originally filed in 2009, charged that United violated the ADA by refusing to place workers with disabilities in vacant positions for which they were qualified and which they needed in order to continue working. Instead, UAL required these employees to compete for jobs on the company website. The company's practice frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing their employment.
Banner Health: (D. Ariz.) resolved 7/27/12 by Phoenix District Office - The Commission alleged that Defendant, a non-profit health care system, breached a mediated settlement agreement it entered into and fired and failed to accommodate the Charging Party because of his disability. Charging Party, an intellectually disabled individual, had worked for defendant since 1984 as a kitchen worker/dietary aide. During the course of his employment at Banner, Charging Party had made numerous requests for reasonable accommodation which were ignored. In 2002, following a charge of discrimination filed with the EEOC, Banner entered into a mediated settlement agreement which required it to notify the Charging Party's brother, his power of attorney, prior to taking any negative employment actions against Charging Party. Three years later, Charging Party requested an accommodation but Banner refused to accommodate him and instead fired him prior to discuss it with his brother. Under the consent decree, Banner will pay $255,000 into a trust for the Charging Party and agreed to injunctive relief, including training and postings.
Johns Hopkins Home Care Group, Inc: (D. Md.) resolved 6/18/12 by Philadelphia District Office - The Commission alleges that Charging Party, a registered nurse, was employed as a pediatric case manager with Defendant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Defendant, a full-service home health care provider, refused to provide Charging Party with reasonable accommodations, despite her being released to return to work. Charging Party filed an EEOC charge against Defendant for its failure to accommodate her, and Defendant subjected her to adverse employment actions, including discharging her, due to her disability and in retaliation for her filing a charge. Case settled for $160,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Pioneer Place: (D. Or.) resolved 5/23/12 by San Francisco District Office - The Commission alleged that Charging Party applied for a cook position at Pioneer Place, an assisted living facility. Defendant informed her that she needed to pass a drug test before beginning work. Charging Party failed the drug test because of her epilepsy medication, and as a result, was not hired. Under the consent decree, Defendant will pay Charging Party $80,000. The company will also train all employees and managers on disability law, implement anti-discrimination policies on interviewing and hiring, and make annual reports to the EEOC for three years.
Garney Construction and Georgia Power: (N.D. Ga.) resolved 5/30/12 by St. Louis District Office - The Commission alleged that Defendant failed to hire Charging Party because of his disability, epilepsy. In addition to furnishing $49,500 in monetary relief, Defendant will also re-disseminate policies on discrimination and provide training to its employees.
DuPriest and Sons Holding: (N.D. Tex.) resolved 10/19/12 by Dallas District Office - The Commission alleged that Defendant, a print screen company, selected Charging Party, a supervisor with 38 years tenure, for layoff based on his disabilities, diabetes and kidney disease. Defendant selected Charging Party for lay off shortly after he told his employer that he would need dialysis. Case settled for $24,000 and injunctive relief.
Fisher, Collins & Carter, Inc.: (D. Md.) resolved 6/20/11 by Philadelphia District Office - The Commission alleged that Defendant, Fisher, Collins & Carter, Inc. engaged in unlawful disability discrimination when it fired two employees shortly after it discovered, through a questionnaire on employees' health conditions and medications, that they had both had diabetes and hypertension. Fisher, Collins & Carter, Inc. has agreed to pay $77,000 and furnish other remedial relief.
Vitas Healthcare: (S.D. Fla.) resolved 6/5/12 by Miami District Office - The Commission alleged that Vitas, a health care company, refused to reasonably accommodate an employee who had hypertension. As a hospice nurse, Charging Party was
required to visit several nursing homes per day, which required extensive driving. The extensive driving exacerbated her condition, and Vitas refused her request to be reassigned to a position which did not require extensive driving. Defendant will
pay $65,000 and amend its reasonable accommodation policy, as well as provide training.