Archive for Discrimination lawsuit

UPS Sued for $600,000 by Portland Man Claiming Discrimination

Does UPS (or any employer) have the right to ask a prospective employee his or her racial origin? Does asking such a question constitute discrimination? Is this action worth $600,000? These are the questions at the heart of a lawsuit filed in January in Portland’s (Oregon) Multnomah County Circuit Court by Kaon-Jabbar East El, a former UPS employee. He claims that the package deliver company violated his Islamic religious beliefs by requiring him to check a box on his employment application about his race.

What happened to prompt this court case?

Kaon-Jabbar East El claims that he was told by the UPS human resources department that he couldn’t attend the new employee orientation unless he checked a box answering the race question. East El self-identifies as a Moor, the nomadic tribe native to North and Northwest Africa. Since there wasn’t an “other” box associated with the race question on the employment form, he checked “Caucasian”, which under a federal directive is defined as people with origins from Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.

East El’s suit claims he was hired by UPS in November 2016 as an on-call truck helper. He claims he repeatedly complained about the racial identifier on the employment form to HR and UPS management, but says he was ignored. He cites his complaints about the form as the reason he was only given one shift in the 2.5 months he worked for the company. He claims he was only given that shift because he has previously told UPS management that he would be unavailable to work that day due to a death in the family. East El resigned in February 2017.

According to “Oregon Live” magazine, UPS declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation, but a company spokesperson emphasized that the UPS workplace is free from all types of discrimination.

Do UPS’ actions constitute discrimination?

While it is up to the Multnomah County Circuit Court to decide, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers guidelines as to what does and what does not amount to discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits intentional discrimination, which is defines as “occurring when an employment decision is affected by the person’s race”. The EEOC further elaborates that data on race may be collected in the workplace for informational purposes.

Is this a ridiculous lawsuit or a legal action that is past due in coming to the courts? We’ll watch the Multnomah County Circuit Court’s decision with interest.

Harassed Teacher Fights Back with Lawsuit

Most people would agree that society is continuing to make efforts to take steps forward when it comes to acceptance and equal rights. However, there continue to be new stories on a regular basis that come out that make it very clear that racism still exists and creates very challenging situations for a lot of people. One story of apparent racism recently came out of a school district in New York.

A current black teacher at the Commack School District in New York is suing the district over claims that she was victimized by racism, discrimination, and harassment from students at the school and teachers. The teacher, Andrea Bryan, concluded that the district continued to allow an environment that allowed for harassment and intimidation.

Bryan, who is of Caribbean descent, has continued to claim that she has filed a wide range of grievances with the district and no action was taken. Her lawsuit, which is not for a specified amount at this point, also pointed out that there has been minimal hiring of minorities. In fact, no other black teachers have been hired in the past 17 years, which shows that there are discriminatory practices in place when it comes to hiring and promoting teachers.

Some of the allegations in the lawsuit were very hurtful and showed that Bryan was not widely accepted by her coworkers and peers. This included the treatment that she received in 2007. That year, Bryan was involved in a serious car accident and did not receive any of the compassion that she would have expected. Instead, she continued to be treated with hostility. During the annual holiday party, she was given a bottle of hand sanitizer as a gift from her Secret Santa. Even though the gift expectation was expected to be around $50, the initial thought was that the opinion that she was “dirty” led to the hurtful gift.

While the harassment from teachers was bad, she received equal treatment from students. In many cases, she was the recipient of a variety of racist comments while other students would laugh in her face at the stereotypical jokes. Bryan stated that several complaints were filed to management of the district, but no action was taken.

Lawsuit Against Former Pasadena Unified Principal For Threatening To Call Immigration

According to litigation filed by Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), The Pasadena Unified School District failed to investigate complaints against Juan Ruelas; the former principal at Madison Elementary School. The claim is that Ruelas used threats of deportation to intimidate a parent and caretaker.

The names of both women behind this case were availed to the principal, Juan Ruelas by district officials, who responded by banning one lady from volunteering at Madison. This was a violation of the right of both women to due process by the district, allowing racial discrimination, as alleged by the lawsuit. According to confirmed reports, the threat came when Eva Del Rio, the babysitter came to drop off a child in her care.

After knocking on a closed campus entrance, the principal threatened to report her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after allegedly cursing, if she attempted to knock on the door again. The following day a Jane Doe met with Ruelas claiming that school staff was taking away and disposing of her daughter’s meals during lunch before the girl was done.

In response, the suit claims that the defendant, Ruelas threatened to send ICE to Madison Elementary School if Jane Doe, the plaintiff, registered a complaint with PUSD.

Doe went ahead and filed the complaint, after which the district’s human resources office sent her a letter, indicating her grievances had been forwarded to Ruelas, and that he would address her concerns.

After that, Ruelas and another employee told her that she was “defaming” the principal and risked being sued if she persisted. Pasadena Unified pledged to protect students and parents without relevant documents in December 2016, by passing a policy that prevented U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, from gaining entry to the district’s properties without a warrant.

Doe shared about her treatment and implored the community to take action against Ruelas, during the board meeting where this policy was approved.The lawsuit alleges that the district and the manner in which the board handled these threats, did not cause emotional distress to the mother only, but to her three children as well.

The complaint is now seeking unspecified damages, and an order for PUSD to launch an investigation into threats relating to immigration status.The identities of the complainant will remain undisclosed, and provision of copies of the complaint by the district, will not happen following pending injunctions.

Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination Widespread at New York Times

The venerable New York Times, one of the nation’s most widely read papers, is facing an unexpected lawsuit from two employees claiming discrimination is widespread at the Times. Two black, female employees in their sixties have filed a federal lawsuit.

Widespread Discrimination

Ernestine Grant and Majorie Walker have filed the lawsuit. Both women work in advertising at the paper. The suit names two people at the times: Chief Revenue Officer Meredith Levien and Chief Executive Mark Thompson. The plaintiffs allege that Thompson actively worked to marginalize the role of women at the Times. The suit further alleges that strong older female voices are not welcome at the paper. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary compensation for the discrimination they claim to have suffered as a result of this belief system.

An Ideal Customer

NYT-quoteThe suit alleges that the paper has both an ideal customer and an ideal client in mind. They assert that the ideal New York Times customer is someone who is younger, at the top end of the pay scale and white. They further allege that the paper also has an ideal employee in mind and this employee is also young, white and in the top percentiles for income. The lawsuit asserts that Times editors do not wish to hire people who do not fit this image. Plaintiffs suggest that those with families who do not meet these criteria have been denied promotional opportunities. They also assert that any company commitment to hiring people of diverse backgrounds has been actively subverted by those in positions of power here.

Denial of These Claims

A spokesperson for the paper vigorously denies all the claims made by both plaintiffs. The spokeswoman asserts that such claims will be fought in court by the company and have no merit at all. Company officials fully expect these claims to be dismissed once the case is heard in court. As the plaintiffs point out, only four of the fourteen members of the paper’s Board of director happen to be female. A single woman has been part of the paper’s ten member of executive committee.