Professional Service Agreement

$272K Secured in ADA and Race Discrimination Claims

February 03, 2022

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has separately announced settlements totaling $272,000 in payments to aggrieved employees, including two Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination lawsuits and one Title VII race discrimination lawsuit involving the alleged use of blatant racist slurs in Louisiana so intolerable that the employee resigned. The EEOC has entered into consent decrees to settle one ADA suit in California involving a termination letter telling an employee who disclosed her illness to “focus on her health,” and a second ADA suit involving a Texas employee who was fired after having a heart attack on the job.

Terminated over cancer fears.Sacramento car dealers, Victory Automotive Group, Inc. and Cappo Management XXIX, Inc., will pay $150,000 in lost wages and emotional distress damages to a former employee pursuant to the consent decree settling an ADA lawsuit against them. The suit alleged that the joint employers terminated the former worker, a title clerk, after she missed several days of work due to sudden illness, informed them that she had been hospitalized, and was undergoing testing for cancer. She presented a medical clearance to return to work, but the day before her return, the employers fired her in a letter advising her to “focus on her health” and confirming her termination was not performance related.

The EEOC filed suit in November 2020 after pre-litigation conciliation efforts failed to produce a settlement. Now, the parties have settled on a three-year consent decree providing for lost wages and emotional distress and other remedial relief including retention of an ADA consultant, secondary review for leave-based terminations, and annual training for management and human resources personnel.

Heart attack on the job.Texas-based oil and gas exploration companies, Vantage Energy Services, Inc., and Vantage International Management Company Pte. Ltd., will pay $54,500 in monetary damages to a former employee after settling his ADA lawsuit. According to the EEOC, the employee suffered a heart attack while working aboard one of the employers’ drill ships off the coast of West Africa. Just days before his scheduled return to work from leave, he was discharged. The agency filed suit in January 2018 after the parties first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the voluntary conciliation process. The district court approved the parties’ settlement, which includes a two-year consent decree awarding monetary damages to the employee and requiring the employers to provide ADA training.

Racial epithets.Louisiana food preparer and retailer, Don’s Specialty Meats, Inc., has agreed to pay a former employee$67,500 following the harassment and the use of racial slurs he endured at work in violation Title VII. The employer will pay the backpay and damages in addition to taking other remedial actions, e.g., training, revising policies, providing regular reports to the EEOC, pursuant to a three-year consent decree. The EEOC filed suit in 2021 alleging that the general manager at Don’s Specialty Meats routinely referred to the employee as “Black boy,” “little Black guy,” and also regularly used the “n-word.” During one incident, the worker’s supervisor purportedly called him a “bitch ass [n — — -]” in front of managers and other employees, and the employer dismissed the worker for the rest of the day but not the offending supervisor.