August 30, 2011
Attorneys who practice in the area of employment discrimination may be interested to know that the EEOC homepage shows that the Commission has filed four discrimination suits in the last two days. In the cases, the EEOC asserts claims of religious discrimination, disability discrimination, and employer retaliation against various companies, including our country’s second largest automaker, Ford Motor Company.
In the case against SITA Information Networking Computing USA, Inc., an Atlanta air transport communications company allegedly discriminated against an employee by rescinding an offer of employment after learning that the newly hired employee would need accommodations because of cancer surgery. As noted by the EEOC, shortly after accepting the offer of employment, the employee learned of her cancer diagnosis, and requested to have her start date moved. The employee also requested permission to work part-time for the first two weeks. In response, the employer rescinded the employment offer. According to Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, the “suit is being filed to ensure that employers understand that they have an obligation, short of incurring undue hardship, to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees.”
In the case against The Patty Tipton Company, a Lexington, Kentucky, Staffing Agency, the EEOC asserts that the agency refused to hire a job applicant because she insisted on wearing a long skirt, and refused to wear pants, for religious reasons. The woman applied for a temporary position at the World Equestrian Games, and was denied the position after requesting her religious accommodation. She was subsequently hired by another company that had no problem with her request for the religious accommodation at the World Equestrian Games.
In its case against Ford Motor Company, the EEOC alleges that instead of allowing an employee to participate in its telecommuting program as a reasonable accommodation for her medical condition, Ford began to criticize the employee’s performance, placed her on a “performance enhancement plan,” and then discharged her only months after she complained about being denied an accommodation. According to the EEOC, “[f]ailing to offer a reasonable accommodation to an employee and then discharging her under these circumstances is a clear violation of the ADA.”
Finally, the EEOC sued Pine View Living, Inc., an assisted living facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for retaliation. According to the EEOC, a resident assistant filed a complaint with the facility, stating that she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. She was thereafter fired. At the time it filed the case, the EEOC stated that “Federal law protects the right of employees to complain when they believe they have been the victims of employment discrimination . . . Here, the EEOC contends that Ms. Anderson was doing what she had a right to do, but Pine View chose to punish her rather than to fix the underlying problem.”