Archive for EEOC

Settlement of EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Cost Hotel Owners $370,000

Federal officials claim that a hotel manager in Washington abused two female housekeepers sexually. Hotel owners neglected to look into the manager who harassed Latina housekeepers.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that GIPHX10, LLC, and Jaffer, Inc., Edmonton, Canada-based firm, will pay $370,000 to those who sexually abused two female former housekeeping employees. The company has also agreed to provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The proprietors of the hotel allegedly allowed the male housekeeping manager to harass those housekeepers sexually. The EEOC claimed that the harassment included touching the women while they were cleaning hotel rooms by themselves, making fun of them for protesting the assaults, and making sexually suggestive remarks to them.

The manager also repeatedly threatened to rape one employee. One woman left her job due to her concern for her safety.

After one of the housekeepers and a bilingual co-worker complained about the harassment to the general manager, GIPHX10, LLC, and Jaffer, Inc. chose not to look into the claims in-depth. Instead, the owners turned a blind eye and accepted the manager’s denial. The general manager allegedly subsequently took revenge, according to the EEOC.

The claimed behavior breaks the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII. As a result, both employees entered into the EEOC lawsuit, added new state law allegations, and on June 3, 2021, the court added Jaffer, Inc. as a necessary party.

The two employees will receive $370,000 from GIPHX10, LLC and Jaffer, Inc. as part of the three-year consent order that ends the lawsuit. The company has also been asked to keep a consultant to create policies that help in preventing sexual harassment like this one.

According to the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, workplace harassment increases when there is an enormous power difference and employees have limited English language proficiency. EEOC San Francisco District Director Nancy Sienko also said employers must inform employees about harassment policies in a language they can comprehend.

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Carmen makes it clear that the Commission’s top priority continues to be protecting vulnerable workers and preventing and resolving workplace harassment.

EEOC v. Safeway, Inc. – Lawsuit for Disability Discrimination During Hiring Process

In a lawsuit filed against Safeway, Inc. today, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims that the grocery chain store acted contrary to federal law. EEOC accuses Safeway of refusing to assist and employ a competent deaf applicant for a number of store jobs in Seattle, Washington.

According to the commission, Joel Silbert made an online application in July 2017. Through the application, he sought food, courtesy, produce and Starbucks clerk jobs at a Safeway store located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Silbert was shortlisted for an interview based on his qualifications and experience working similar jobs. Things took a different turn when Silbert revealed that he would need an interpreter for the interview since he was deaf. The in-store hiring recruiter responded to this, saying that she had no idea about providing interpreters. The recruiter declined Silbert’s offer when he provided names and contact details of some interpreters that Safeway could engage for purposes of the interview, saying that she would respond to him. EEOC says that since Silbert did not hear from them, he decided to place several calls to the store over the following week. He was either placed on hold or told that nobody was available.

The act of turning down a qualified applicant based on disability runs contrary to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Before filing suit in US District Court for the Western District of Washington the EEOC had tried to use their conciliation process to negotiate a pre-litigation settlement. Apart from monetary damages for Silbert, the EEOC also seeks injunctive relief, including but not limited to training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the workplace and compliance reporting.

Nancy Sienko, EEOC Seattle Field Director, said that it is important to ensure that fears and stereotypes do not hamper objectivity while evaluating an individual’s potential at the workplace during the hiring process.

Sienko pointed out that in its 2017 – 2021 Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), the Commission had identified six national priorities. Among these priorities was the elimination of barriers in hiring, particularly hiring practices that discriminate against people living with disabilities.

Teri Healy, the Senior Trial Attorney for EEOC, made it clear that this particular applicant not only had the requisite qualifications but was also worthy of being considered for a job at the grocery store. He went on to note that the supervisors he previously worked under were satisfied with his performance and that customers were fond of him. Healy argued that were it not for the disability discrimination that frustrated his efforts to get hired, there was no reason why he would not have done equally well at Safeway.

Advocates for the Disabled Taking Aim at Texas

A damning report released by the Statesman aimed at the leadership of Texas government reminds us all just how important human rights are, and why advocacy for the less fortunate is so vital. The article , uses language and terms such as the disabled being “warehoused in nursing homes,” or working under “slavery conditions” while citing several specific examples of individuals whose situations and experiences illuminate these accusations.

Advocates for many of these claimants argue that not only are the basic principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being violated, but that offenses from being paid less than fifty cents an hour to even the occurrence of death for mishandled situations have resulted from the poor at best, efforts to provide for and protect disabled citizens.

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) levied charges against a Texas based turkey company, that are referred to in the Statesman report, in 2011. Yes, those alleged charges are from five years ago, which is one of the reasons why this story is so curious – these charges are still pending litigation.

In response, the State of Texas denies any wrong doing. It is presumably the failure to govern and police company practices that has the State of Texas under the spotlight at the moment. From the initial appearances, it seems somewhat apparent that the State did not with any particular malice put individuals in abusive or unfair positions. This is shaping up to be more of a case of neglect on the part of Texas, to ensure that the most needful of citizens are being taken care of in a manner that is both respectful and fair.

If these accusations and facts hold up, then it is unquestionably cruel and abusive treatment of the less fortunate. The hope is that perhaps this is a situation where policy and practices weren’t connected to people and lives. Sometimes the bottom line is seen without faces attached. It is almost evil to imagine people would intentionally hurt others in such a fashion. The level of abuse, the time it has taken to handle and litigate these charges in addition to who the alleged victims are will likely keep this issue from disappearing again.

This should result in answers, making right whatever it is that has been wrong and when the dust has settled, those neighbors, friends and loved ones will be treated as we all should be – with love, respect and dignity – for starters.