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Wal-Mart to Pay Employee $275,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

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Wal-Mart to Pay Employee $275,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

By Sarah Pierce

 

Wal-Mart(LEGAFI) -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has been ordered to pay $275,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by an employee who was fired after receiving cancer-related surgery.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in the disability discrimination lawsuit that Wal-Mart denied a 12-year employee at its East Tennessee distribution center a reasonable accommodation after he had cancer surgery, which left him with weakness in his right shoulder. The EEOC also charged Wal-Mart with firing him in retaliation for complaining about its refusal to accommodate him.

According to the Wal-Mart disability discrimination lawsuit, the employee had successfully worked as a forklift driver after the surgery but requested that the company not require him to cover a 20-minute break in the shipping department because it would require manual lifting. Wal-Mart not only denied his request for accommodation, but also terminated him, claiming he could not perform the essential functions of his job.

Denial of a reasonable accommodation and retaliation against disabled individuals violates Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended by the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

“There is a solid body of federal law that clearly obligates employers to provide an employee with a reasonable accommodation unless it poses an undue hardship,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “The EEOC remains committed to vigorously enforcing the ADA and the ADAAA.” 

In addition to providing $275,000 in monetary relief, Wal-Mart must sign an 18-month consent decree enjoining the East Tennessee distribution from further failing to provide reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship, or following proper procedures for handling such requests per the ADA and ADAAA. In addition, the decree requires that Wal-Mart provide anti-disability discrimination training to its management staff; maintain records of any accommodation requests and furnish them to the EEOC; and post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC’s contact information.

 

Updated December 22nd, 2011

All updates are located in the Lawsuit News section of Legafi. 

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Judge Rules Government Can Enforce Anti-Tattoo Employment Policy

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Judge Rules Government Can Enforce Anti-Tattoo Employment Policy

By Mike Holter

 

PA Liquor Enforcement Officer(LEGAFI) -- A federal judge has ruled that the Pennsylvania State Police had the right to deny employment to a would-be liquor control officer because he refused to remove a visible tattoo. The ruling squashed the man’s lawsuit, which claimed the agency’s anti-tattoo policy was unconstitutional and that the government has no right to require applicants to physically alter their body in exchange for employment.

Plaintiff Ronald Scavone alleges in the tattoo-policy lawsuit that he successfully completed the selection process and background check to be employed as a Pennsylvania liquor control officer, but was not hired due to “a violation of his constitutional rights that he must physically alter his body by way of having a tattoo removed to be allowed employment with the government.”

The Pennsylvania State Police bars employees from having visible tattoos that are “inappropriate; demean the image or reputation of the PSP; or prevent undercover work.” If an applicant has an unacceptable tattoo, the agency has a policy of making an offer of employment conditional on the removal of the tattoo.

Scavone has 10 tattoos. One of the tattoos, a jester, was deemed unacceptable by the hiring committee because it would be both visible when wearing the short-sleeved uniform and because of its uniqueness, which would make Scavone identifiable in undercover situations. The agency told Scavone that the tattoo had to be removed before he could be considered for employment.

Scavone alleges in the anti-tattoo policy lawsuit that the agency’s request violated his first and fourteenth amendment rights and asked the court to declare its “invasive tattoo removal policy” unconstitutional. He claimed the outcome of his lawsuit “will answer the question of whether the government can require you to physically alter your body in exchange for employment."

U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo ruled that the government can, finding that Scavone’s failure to remove his jester tattoo was a legitimate bar to his employment.

Judge Caputo said the Pennsylvania State Police’s tattoo policy "rationally related to its legitimate interest in its image and reputation, as well as the safety of its officers."

“Furthermore, LEOs [liquor enforcement officers] do mostly undercover investigations. A tattoo makes them readily identifiable, inhibiting their ability to do their job,” he wrote.

 

Updated December 21st, 2011

All updates are located in the Lawsuit News section of Legafi. 

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Various Trademarks held by their respective owners. Legafi® is a Registered Trademark of Top Class Actions LLC

 
Wyoming Man Wins $1.2M in Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

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Wyoming Man Wins $1.2M in Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

By Matt O'Donnell

 

Wyoming Machinery Co.(LEGAFI) -- A federal jury has awarded a Wyoming man $1.2 million in damages in a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer, Wyoming Machinery Co., finding that the company unlawfully fired him because of his disability.
 
The jury found that the Casper, Wyoming-based heavy-equipment dealer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated Robert G. Bush after he underwent open-heart surgery.

Bush alleged in the wrongful termination lawsuit that he began working with Wyoming Machinery on September 1, 1999, as a tube technician and later as a mechanic working on heavy equipment.

Bush underwent open-heart surgery in October 2006 and was told by his physician not to work for six months and to work only “light duty” when he returned to his job. As a result, the company considered Bush disabled and put him on long-term disability.

Bush returned to work in April 2007 but suffered what he called a mild heart attack on the second day back on the job, causing him to return to long-term disability.

Fourth months later, in August 2007, Bush was passed over for a site coordinator position at a North Antelope mine, and was not notified about an opening at another mine that went to a younger, less-qualified employee, the wrongful termination lawsuit said.

Bush was 51 years old at the time and was qualified and physically able to handle the site coordinator position, according to the wrongful termination lawsuit.

On July 15, 2008, Bush was terminated based on company policy that an employee cannot be absent from work more than six months. Bush had been absent from work for about 21 months, with the exception of the two days he worked in April 2007.

Wyoming Machinery Co. argued in court that Bush did not suffer a mild heart attack in April 2007 but had only a muscle problem. The company also argued that Bush’s physician never told him that he needed to take time off work to recuperate after the attack.

Despite these arguments, a federal jury awarded Bush $1.2 million in damages for wrongful termination. The award may be reduced once U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal, who presided over the case, enters a final judgment.

 

Updated December 21st, 2011

All updates are located in the Lawsuit News section of Legafi. 

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Various Trademarks held by their respective owners. Legafi® is a Registered Trademark of Top Class Actions LLC

 
Fired Car Dealership Employee Wins $30,000 in Retaliation Lawsuit

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Fired Car Dealership Employee Wins $30,000 in Retaliation Lawsuit

By Kimberly Mirando

 

lawsuit settlement(LEGAFI) -- An Arkansas car dealership will pay $30,000 to a fired employee to settle a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.

The retaliation lawsuit accuses Valley Motors, Inc. in Russellville, Arkansas, of firing a female sales associate after she complained that the car dealership refused to place her on the used car lot because of her gender. Valley Motors fired the sales associate less than a week after receiving her written complaint for gender discrimination.

Retaliation for complaining about workplace discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Retaliation includes any adverse action taken against an employee for filing  a complaint or supporting another employee’s complaint, including termination, denial of promotion, threats, unjustified negative evaluations, and more.

“Unfortunately, retaliation charges  and lawsuits have risen significantly over the last couple of years, both in the Memphis District and across the country,” said Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “Employers must learn that employees have a right to complain when they think that the employer may have violated their federally protected rights.”
 

 

Updated December 20th, 2011

All updates are located in the Lawsuit News section of Legafi. 

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Various Trademarks held by their respective owners. Legafi® is a Registered Trademark of Top Class Actions LLC

 
Fired Muslim Drivers Sue Hertz for Religious Discrimination
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Fired Muslim Drivers Sue Hertz for Religious Discrimination

By Sarah Pierce

 

Hertz (LEGAFI) -- Hertz rental car company said it would “vigorously defend” itself against a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by 25 Muslim drivers who claim they were fired for taking prayer breaks at the company’s Seattle airport office.

The Muslim religious discrimination lawsuit, filed December 7 in King County Superior Court, accuses Hertz of intentionally creating a “hostile work environment owing to religious, race and national origin discrimination” by terminating the drivers, all of them Somali natives, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in late October. The lawsuit claims “retaliation for opposing discrimination was a substantial factor" in Hertz's decision to terminate the Muslim employees.

Hertz responded to the religious discrimination lawsuit by saying the Muslim drivers refused to clock in and out for the 10-minute paid breaks they took twice daily, as required under their union contract, and abused their breaks by failing to return to work promptly.

The Hertz Muslim driver lawsuit says Hertz employees at the airport have been allowed to take bathroom or smoking breaks for the past 15 years without clocking in or out. It also says Muslim workers have been permitted to take prayer breaks off the clock and that their labor contract does not require clocking out for such breaks.

The Hertz Muslim driver discrimination lawsuit also names two Hertz managers as defendants, accusing them of speaking to Muslim workers in a harsh tone, banging on the women’s restroom door and peering into the women’s designated prayer space for no reason.

“This situation has absolutely nothing to do with religion or discrimination," Hertz spokesman Richard Broome said in a written statement. “The employees refused to accept our only requirement -- that they clock out first to ensure that when prayers ended they returned to work promptly, which wasn't happening in many instances.”

Other workers suspended for not clocking out on prayer breaks were reinstated after agreeing to the rules, he said.

The Hertz Muslim driver discrimination lawsuit is seeking job reinstatement with back pay for the 25 fired workers, plus damages for emotional pain and suffering.

Several of the same 25 workers filed discrimination claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2007 and reached a settlement with Hertz two years later.

 

Updated December 20th, 2011

All updates are located in the Lawsuit News section of Legafi. 

LEGAL INFORMATION IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE

Legafi Legal Statement 

©2011 Legafi®

Various Trademarks held by their respective owners. Legafi® is a Registered Trademark of Top Class Actions LLC

 
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