DiscriminationRetaliationSexual Harassment

EEOC Update: Disability Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

This week the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported on three lawsuits. One is for Disability Discrimination and two are for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation.

Reasonable Accommodation

In the disability discrimination suit, the EEOC alleges that Treehouse Foods violated federal law when it denied a machine operator a reasonable accommodation for her physical disabilities. The employee has worked for Treehouse for 19 years. Treehouse denied the employee’s request for unpaid intermittent leave to get treatment for her ailments. When the employee took time off, she was given attendance infraction points. Ultimately, she was fired for accumulating too many points. The EEOC says Treehouse violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not making a reasonable accommodation by granting intermittent medical leave for treatment of a disability.

Harassment & Retaliation

In the first sexual harassment and retaliation case, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Route 22 Sports Bar, Inc. and Crazy Mexican Restaurant & Grill, LLC. The EEOC alleges that a male owner of the two restaurants subjected a female bartender to sexual harassment. The harassment included propositioning her for sex, making sexually offensive statements, spreading false rumors that he paid her for sex, and touching her inappropriately on several occasions. The bartender reported the harassment to the co-owner of the business. The co-owner of the business is the spouse of the alleged harasser. Regardless, the male owner denied the allegations and fired the bartender.

In the second sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, the EEOC announced that MVM, a Virginia-based security services firm will pay a $200,000 settlement. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a MVM manager harassed a female security guard. The allegations included unwanted physical touching and lewd sexual comments. When the manager cornered the guard on an elevator and kissed her without her consent, she complained to management. Two weeks later, MVM fired her in retaliation. Additionally, this manager faced accusations of sexual harassment involving other women. Management was aware of these allegations but did nothing to stop them.

Both cases violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment and discrimination because of sex. Further, Title VII also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee because she complained about harassment.

As these cases show, employees have protections from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Please call us If there are potential violations of your rights. We will listen to you and guide you.

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