Court Rejects Bid to Dismiss Disability Harassment Claim
CHICAGO - A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss a claim of disability harassment against Mont Brook, Inc., doing business as The Cleaning Authority of Plainfield, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
In its complaint, the EEOC charged that the house cleaning company violated federal civil rights laws by harassing an employee with a disability. The EEOC said the company's president referred to an employee who walks with an abnormal gait as a result of a stroke as "a cripple," mockingly imitated the way she walks, and told her that she was being a "hysterical basket case" when she objected to that treatment.
The company's motion to dismiss argued that such conduct was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute unlawful harassment. The court rejected that argument and found that the EEOC's allegations were legally sufficient. The case is EEOC v. Mont Brook, Inc. d/b/a The Cleaning Authority of Plainfield, Civil Action No. 13-cv-6799, and is pending in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Chicago. The EEOC lawsuit was originally filed September 23, 2013, and the court's decision was docketed on May 22, 2014.
"Harassment of any employee on account of his or her race, national origin, disability status, or any other condition irrelevant to the job is a terrible reflection upon those who engage in it - it just exposes their own ignorance and cruelty," said John Hendrickson, the EEOC regional attorney in Chicago. "Further, it is illegal, and that's why it's an enforcement priority for this office and this agency. With this decision against The Cleaning Authority, the EEOC's challenge to the harassment of this employee is definitely on track and going forward."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.