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New Suits Level Allegations of Disability Discrimination, Racial and Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

September 25, 2017

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed new lawsuits against employers in Virginia, Nevada, Georgia, and Tennessee raising unrelated allegations of disability discrimination, racial and sexual harassment, and retaliation.

EEOC v Huntington Ingalls Incorporated: A Newport News, Virginia-based shipbuilder violated the ADA when it refused to hire a pipefitter after discovering his hearing impairment, according to the EEOC. Huntington Ingalls also purportedly refused to provide the pipefitter with a reasonable accommodation during the hiring process. The applicant, who was an experienced pipefitter, received a conditional offer of employment to work at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding facility in July 2013, contingent upon his passing a physical examination, including a hearing test. The applicant wears hearing aids in both ears, and according to the complaint, requested to be tested while wearing his hearing aids. Huntington Ingalls allegedly denied the applicant’s request, and as a result, his job offer was rescinded because he had failed the hearing test.

EEOC v Wynn Las Vegas: The Wynn Las Vegas hotel/casino violated the ADA when it allegedly denied medical leave to and fired an employee because of her disability, the EEOC contends. In early 2013, after informing her manager that her ovarian cancer had returned, the employee requested leave to undergo surgery and to recover from the procedure, the EEOC said. But Wynn Las Vegas purportedly failed to provide the requested leave and discharged the employee her due to her disability. The EEOC also contends that Wynn Las Vegas discriminated against a class of similarly aggrieved employees based on their disabilities.

EEOC v G.N.T.: The East Point, Georgia, grocery store violated Title VII when it subjected three African-American employees to a racially hostile work environment, according to the EEOC. Throughout their employment, the employees, who worked in GNT’s meat department, endured the store owner's daily use of the words "n — — r," "monkey" and other racial epithets, the federal agency said. The owner allegedly prominently displayed racially offensive posters with monkeys in the meat department intended to humiliate the black employees. Despite numerous complaints by all three employees, the harassing behavior did not cease, the EEOC said. When the employees filed discrimination charges with the EEOC, the store owner sought to persuade each of them to withdraw their EEOC charges, and when each refused, fired them in retaliation for their complaints, the EEOC contends.

EEOC v American Queen Steamboat Company: The Memphis, Tennessee-based cruise company unlawfully fired an employee after he supported his coworker's complaint about sexual harassment, the EEOC asserts. In December 2014, a cruise director allegedly submitted a written complaint to American Queen supporting a coworker’s claim of sexual harassment by a supervisor, and criticizing the company for failing to stop the harassment. The employee also criticized a high-level company manager for alerting the alleged harasser, a friend of that manager, about the coworker's complaint, the EEOC said. The manager purportedly confronted the employee about his complaint and threatened his job. Although the employee allegedly reported this retaliatory conduct to his immediate supervisor, the supervisor took no remedial action. In May 2015, American Queen fired the employee, even though his supervisor told him that he had done "nothing wrong," the EEOC contends.