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Baird Tree Will Settle EEOC Race and Wage Discrimination Lawsuit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Law on November 28th, 2013

Baird Tree Company Agrees to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Baird Tree Company, Inc., a tree-trimming service company based in Jacksboro, Tenn., and operating in eastern and middle Tennessee, has agreed to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of 19 Hispanic former employees.

According to an EEOC suit filed on behalf of 19 Hispanic employees, Baird Tree Company, Inc., a tree-trimming service based and operating in Tennessee, has violated federal law by maintaining a policy and practice of failing to pay Hispanic employees overtime pay while at the same time paying non-Hispanic American workers such wage premiums. The suit also charges that the company further violated the law when it threatened to fire employees for complaining about the discrimination.

Such alleged national origin discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Baird Tree has agreed to pay $19,000 in compensation for the damages caused by the discrimination. Back pay damages for the lost overtime wages had previously been settled by the company.

And in addition to the compensatory damages, the ruling prevents Baird Tree from engaging in future unlawful national origin discrimination and retaliation against any employee and also requires the company to provide training on wage discrimination for its senior management officials. The company must now regularly submit copies of its overtime payroll records to the EEOC. And lastly, Baird Tree agreed to EEOC inspection and copying of records regarding any employee complaints related to national origin, wage discrimination or retaliation during the term of the ruling.

EEOC is Committed to Eradicating National Origin and Wage Discrimination

“The EEOC is committed to eradicating national origin and wage discrimination and protecting vulnerable workers who courageously oppose such unlawful practices,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC. “This consent decree ensures that Hispanic employees will receive the same pay for overtime work as all other employees.”

The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) has established six national priorities, one of them being the elimination of discriminatory policies that affect vulnerable workers who might be unaware of or reluctant to exercise their equal employment rights. These policies include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and human trafficking.

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Toys”R”Us to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

By Peter Levine posted in Discrimination, Employment Law on November 7th, 2013

Toys”R”Us Will Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Toys”R”Us, Inc., one of the world’s largest retailers of toys and juvenile products, will pay $35,000 as well as provide significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit according to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Allegedly, according to the EEOC’s suit, after Shakirra Thomas applied for a team member position at the retailer, Toys”R”Us contacted her and requested she attend a group interview. Thomas’s mother told Toys”R”Us that Thomas was deaf and communicates through American Sign Language, reading lips and through written word, and thus required an interpreter for the interview. The retailer responded that Thomas would have to provide her own interpreter.

Thomas’s mother interpreted for her during the interview. According to the lawsuit the retailer refused to hire Thomas, despite her qualifications and ability to perform the team member position, with or without a reasonable accommodation.

Disability Discrimination by Employers Violates Americans with Disabilities Act

Disability discrimination in employment violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This Act ensures that employers provide reasonable accommodations where necessary to individuals with disabilities, including its applicants.

“This settlement should remind all employers that, absent an undue hardship, the ADA requires providing a reasonable accommodation to job applicants and employees who request one,” said EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.  “Hiring decisions should be made based on an individual’s qualifications and not because of a disability.”

In addition to $35,000 in monetary relief awarded to Thomas, the three-year stipulated judgment admonishes Toys”R”Us from future discrimination on the basis of disability.  Toys”R”Us will provide training to managers and supervisors regarding the ADA, which includes non-discriminatory interviewing and hiring practices. The retailer must also post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit.

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “We are pleased that Toys”R”Us worked with us to resolve this lawsuit.  This settlement, including the extensive training provisions, should protect applicants and employees from disability discrimination.”

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

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