New Suits Challenge Illinois and Maryland Employers for Disability, Race, and National Origin Discrimination

September 05, 2017

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the filing of unrelated lawsuits against employers in Illinois and Maryland, raising claims of disability discrimination, and race and national origin discrimination, respectively.

EEOC v Illinois Action for Children, NDIll, No 17-cv-6224. Illinois Action for Children violated the ADA when it fired an employee who was on leave receiving treatment for breast cancer rather than granting a request from her doctor for a short period of additional leave to receive additional treatment, according to the EEOC. She had been employed with Illinois Action for Children for almost two and half years at the time of her termination. Although the company eventually rehired the employee, because of her termination over breast cancer leave, she was denied the opportunity to work at her job for more than six months, the EEOC said.

EEOC v Phase II Investments, Inc, DMd, No 1:17-cv-02463. Maritime Autowash, Inc, violated Title VII when it subjected a class of workers to a hostile work environment and disparate treatment based on their race and national origin (Hispanic) at its Edgewater, Maryland, facilities, the EEOC contends. Maritime purportedly segregated a class of Hispanic workers into lower-paying jobs as laborers or detailers because of their race and national origin; it did not offer them promotion or advancement opportunities to key employee or cashier positions, despite their tenure and outstanding job performance. Maritime paid many class members only the minimum wage despite years of service, but paid non-Hispanic workers higher wages or promoted them to key employee positions, the EEOC said.

Maritime also discriminated against the Hispanic class members by forcing them to perform other duties without additional compensation and denying them proper safety equipment or clothing, according to the EEOC. Hispanic workers were allegedly required to perform personal tasks for the owner and managers, such as routinely assigning the female Hispanic class members to clean the houses of the owner or manager and assigning the male Hispanics to perform duties at their homes, such as landscaping, cleaning the pool, picking up dog excrement, painting, or helping with moves.

The federal agency further contends that Maritime unlawfully fired class members for complaining about the harassment and discriminatory working conditions.