DDZ TO PAY $625,400 TO SETTLE EEOC SEX DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT

Louisville Printer Shunned Women for Hire Into Boxer/Packer Jobs for Nearly Three Years and Created Hostile Environment for Women, Federal Agency Charged

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – DDZ, Inc., doing business as DDZ CA, Inc., formerly known as Zoo Printing, Inc., will pay $625,400 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Zoo Printing failed to hire female applicants for the position of boxer/packer at its Louisville facility between January 2013 and December 2015. The EEOC also alleged that female employees were subjected to a hostile work environment because of their sex.

Failing to hire applicants because of their sex and subjecting employees to a hostile work environment because of their sex violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against DDZ, Inc., dba DDZ CA, Inc. in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division (EEOC v. DDZ, Inc., dba DDZ CA, Inc., formerly known as Zoo Printing, Inc., Case No. 3:18-cv-199 (JHM-CHL)) on March 30, 2018. The parties reached agreement and filed a joint motion to approve a consent decree that same day. The motion was approved by the court and the consent decree was entered on April 13, 2018.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, DDZ is required to pay $625,400 to women who unsuccessfully sought employment as boxer/packers at the Louisville, facility between January 2013 and December 2015, and to women who were employed at the facility and determined by the EEOC as having been subjected to gender harassment.

The assets of Zoo Printing, Inc., including its name and Kentucky operations, were purchased by PrintBuyer, LLC in an asset purchase transaction in November 2016. PrintBuyer, LLC subsequently closed the Kentucky operations of Zoo Printing, Inc. in 2017. PrintBuyer, LLC is not a party to the consent decree.

“We are pleased the parties were able to resolve this matter without prolonged and expensive litigation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Kenneth Bird. “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s ongoing commitment to eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring. We hope this settlement furthers the public’s understanding that hiring decisions need to be based on the applicant’s ability to do the job, regardless of gender.”

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring that discriminate against women or other protected groups is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The Louisville Area Office is part of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District, whose jurisdiction includes Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and parts of Ohio.

PRUITTHEALTH SUED BY EEOC FOR PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION
Raleigh Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Refused to Accommodate Pregnant Nursing Assistant and Forced Resignation, Federal Agency Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. – PruittHealth-Raleigh, LLC, a Georgia corporation doing business as a nursing and rehabilitation center in Raleigh, violated federal law when it refused to accommodate the preg­nancy-related work restriction of a certified nursing assistant and forced her to resign, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, PruittHealth offered light duty or job modifications to accommodate the temporary restrictions of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who were injured at work. However, the company refused to grant similar accommodations or modifications to a CNA who experienced a pregnancy-related work restriction. The EEOC says that in October 2016, the company refused to accommodate the pregnancy-related 20-pound lifting restriction of CNA Dominique Codrington. Instead, the company’s assistant director of nursing and a human resources representative forced Codrington to resign or be fired.

The EEOC said that at all relevant times, the company had lifting devices and transfer belts available to help lift patients and did not prohibit CNAs from seeking the assistance of co-workers to lift patients manually. The EEOC contends that by refusing to accommodate Codrington’s pregnancy-related lifting restriction and forcing her to resign, the company violated the law.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees due to pregnancy, including preg­nancy-related conditions. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. PruittHealth – Raleigh, LLC, Civil Action No 5:18-CV-00165-D) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its concili­ation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief, including policy changes at the company, as well as back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Codrington.

“Employers must generally treat the work restrictions of pregnant employees just like those of non-pregnant employees,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Companies must be careful not to violate federal anti-discrimination law when they pick and choose which employees to accommodate.”

MACY’S TO PAY $75,000 TO SETTLE EEOC DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT
Retailer Refused to Excuse Asthmatic Employee’s One-Day Absence and Fired Her, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – Macy’s will pay a former long-term employee $75,000 to settle a disability discrim­ination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged Macy’s with firing an asthmatic employee, rather than excuse a one-day absence the employee needed to address emergency complications arising from her disability. This alleged conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Macy’s, Inc/Macy’s Retail Holdings, Inc.; Civil Action No. 17-cv-05959) on Aug. 16, 2017 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the asthmatic employee worked for Macy’s for nearly eight years, but she was fired after a one-day absence due to needing immediate medical attention for her asthma. Macy’s policy permits absences for disability-related reasons. However, in this case, Macy’s denied the employee’s request to excuse the absence, even though she had to be seen in a hospital emergency room, and fired her three weeks later.

Macy’s will pay $75,000 in monetary relief to the employee as part of a consent decree settling the suit and will provide additional relief intended to improve Macy’s workplace for employees with disabilities. Under the decree, Macy’s will train certain employees on disability law and accommodation requirements under the ADA. Macy’s will also monitor requests for accommodation and complaints of disability discrimination at its two Chicago stores and report those to the EEOC.

“The ADA requires employers to reasonably accommodate disability-related absences that enable their employees to perform their job,” said Julianne Bowman, EEOC’s district director in Chicago. “Here, a one-day absence would have enabled the employee to return to the job she held for almost eight years. We are pleased with today’s settlement which will compensate the victim and monitor Macy’s accommodation practices with respect to the ADA.”

Greg Gochanour, the regional attorney of EEOC’s Chicago District Office, said, “Macy’s response to the employee’s absence was not reasonable. The employee found herself in a potentially life threatening circumstance and phoned Macy’s to explain her absence before going to the hospital. The following day, she provided Macy’s documentation from the hospital showing she was treated for asthma. Rather than accommodate the employee, Macy’s fired her.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment 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.

EEOC SUES ECOLOGY SERVICES, INC. FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Waste Management Company’s Physical and Verbal Harassment Forced Female Garbage Truck Driver to Quit, Federal Agency Charges

BALTIMORE – Ecology Services, Inc., a waste management services company headquartered in Columbia, Md., violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment which forced her to resign, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com­mission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a female garbage truck driver, who began working for Ecology Services in Columbia in May 2016, was sexually harassed by a male helper who was frequently assigned to work with her. The EEOC charges that the helper repeatedly engaged in unwelcome sexual conduct and comments, including forcibly smacking and grabbing her buttocks; grabbing her breasts; forcing her to touch his genitals; and often making sexual comments and gestures.

The driver complained to her supervisor about the egregious harassment, but Ecology Services not only failed to stop the harassment, it continued to assign her to work with the harasser. The EEOC said that the driver was forced to resign in November 2016 due to the severe harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harass­ment based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Ecology Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01065) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. As part of the suit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the driver, as well as broad injunctive relief.

“Preventing sexual harassment is an enforcement priority for the EEOC,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “No one should have to endure sexual assaults or crude sexual comments in order to earn a living.”

EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “As the #Metoo movement has made all too clear, sexual harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace. The EEOC stands ready to protect workers, including women in non-traditional jobs, from pervasive sexual harassment if their employers fail to do so.”

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also pros­ecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.