Unspoken Rides: Addressing the Pervasive Harassment and Discrimination in America’s Auto Dealerships

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive issue in auto dealerships throughout America.

The American auto dealership industry, boasting a backbone of shiny cars and robust sales pitches, hides an alarming and corrosive problem under its hood – sexual harassment. Despite being a cornerstone of America’s retail economy, auto dealerships have become notorious battlegrounds for gender respect and workplace equality.

In this probing examination, we will delve deep into the personal stories that shed light on the struggle many female employees face, survey the bleak statistics that run rampant across the industry, and provide concrete steps and resources for those affected by such improper conduct in their workplaces.

Personal Narratives of Harassment

Personal accounts bring the shocking reality of workplace harassment out of the shadows. In a Utah auto dealership, a former employee recounts days filled with anxiety and fear as her supervisor would casually assault female staff members, dealing out demeaning acts like smacks on the buttocks as casually as if he were giving out office memos.

The situation in Texas paints an equally grim picture, with managers at South Austin Nissan openly and relentlessly parading their predatory behavior. Women working there faced an ongoing onslaught of unwanted touching, lewd comments dissecting their appearance, and invasive inquiries into their private lives.

Moving west to San Francisco, the narrative continues with former employees, all women, who weathered unwelcome sexual advances, offensive remarks, and physical contact—all undermining not only their sense of security but their professional worth.

A Statistical Glimpse into the Workplace

Behind these personal stories lies a staggering trail of data:

  • According to the National Women’s Law Center, a harrowing 65% of women in dealership roles have dealt with sexual harassment at their job.
  • An EEOC study alerts us to over 60 official sexual harassment charges filed in the span of eight years, a period where the true scope of the issue likely exceeds recorded figures due to unreported incidents.
  • An Auto News survey tragically indicates that the immense majority—7 out of every 10 women in the dealership industry—experienced a form of sexual harassment.
  • From an occupational health psychology perspective, the non-physical damages are substantial too, resulting in a workplace rife with dissatisfaction, distress, and high turnover rates.

This data paints a sobering picture: the car sales floor, rather than being a place of negotiation and commerce, is often an arena of gender-based violation and abuse.

Stepping Stones to Change

These harrowing accounts and disheartening figures cannot fade into mere statistics. Change is imperative. To catalyze this transformation, advocacy must be a community affair – everyone is a stakeholder in making dealerships safe environments that uphold gender respect and equality. Here’s what can be done:

  • Workplace Policies – Dealerships must institute clear, robust, and non-negotiable policies against harassment, with transparent channels for reporting and addressing complaints.
  • Training Programs – Regular and compulsory training sessions can educate all employees on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to prevent it.
  • Peer Support – Fostering a culture where colleagues support one another and victims don’t feel isolated or helpless.

Legal Recourse and Support Systems

Empower yourself with knowledge and support:

  • EEOC Guidance – Connect with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for advice and action against employment discrimination.
  • Legal ExpertiseA specialized workplace discrimination or harassment attorney can offer legal counsel and potentially represent your case.
  • Law Enforcement – If you’ve been physically harassed or assaulted, contact the local police.
  • Support from Nonprofits – Organizations like the National Women’s Law Center offer legal resources to women facing discrimination and harassment.
  • Community Networks – Join support groups where shared experiences and solidarity can foster recovery and collective action.

Conclusion: Toward a Respectful Workspace

Making our workplaces safe sanctuaries of productivity and respect demands courage, persistence, and unity. If you or someone you know is enduring sexual harassment within an auto dealership or any workplace, remember that silence benefits only the perpetrators. It’s time to revamp the industry not just from a business standpoint but from a foundational perspective that respects and values all employees equally.

Make Dealerships Safe: Advocate for Gender Respect and Equality

Now is the time for action, for support, and for change. Stand up for a harassment-free workplace, and navigate the road ahead with the dignity and equality every person deserves.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Lifeline Protecting Mothers From Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination based on gender stereotypes women with children is illegal. Call gender discrimination lawyers Helmer Friedman LLP.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been a reliable shield for many employees in the past and continues to hold its significance in our society today. It is a federal law that serves as a powerful weapon against sex discrimination, especially for mothers who are often subject to baseless stereotypes in the workplace.

An example that stands out is the recent case lodged against Walmart by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As the case revealed, a dedicated employee was denied a well-deserved promotion to a department manager position due to sex stereotypes. The reasons for overlooking her promotion revolved around her young children, implying that she may not be as committed or dedicated to advancing her career. Such stereotypes are exactly what Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 aims to fight against.

“Discriminating against a woman because of stereotypes about working mothers is sex discrimination, plain and simple,” said Gregory Gochanour, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “Women with children deserve the opportunity to be judged fairly in the workplace based on their qualifications and abilities, not on assumptions about their commitment to their careers.”

This landmark legislation not only prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex, but also race, color, religion, and national origin. The law has been instrumental in protecting mothers from facing discrimination in the workplace. It ensures that they are given equal opportunities for recruitment, hiring, promotion and training.

The settlement follows an earlier ruling by the court rejecting Walmart’s motion to end the case without a trial. The court’s decision on the case highlighted that a promotion decision taken based on sex stereotypes was unjust. The courts referenced a U.S. Supreme Court case that unraveled the harmful sex stereotype presumption — that women are primarily mothers and secondarily workers. This presumption was deemed impermissible and countered the rights provided through Title VII.

The outcome of this lawsuit served as another win for Title VII, with Walmart agreeing to pay a sizable compensation of $60,000 to the aggrieved employee. Further, in an effort to prevent future discrimination, they committed to providing training that focuses on federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination and to report any further complaints to the EEOC.

This case serves as a clear reminder of how vital Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is in ensuring a fair and non-discriminatory playing field for mothers. It eradicates stereotypes, ensuring women are acknowledged for their skills, qualifications, and abilities rather than unfairly judged based on their circumstances. Discrimination against women, particularly rooted in stereotypes of working mothers, is regarded as sex discrimination, and this law serves as a bulwark against it.

Unveiling Illegal Discrimination, Harassment, Donations for Scholarships, and Whistleblower Retaliation

Workplace violations, discrimination, whistleblower retaliation lawyers Helmer Friedman LLP.

Not Just a Game: Former Cal State University Northridge coach files lawsuit against the school, claiming wrongful termination following exposé on dubious recruiting tactics!

In recent news, an alarming case has surfaced involving the former women’s soccer coach at Cal State University Northridge, Keith Andrew West, who is now taking legal action against the school. The case highlights some of the endemic issues that are often overlooked in higher education, such as illegal discrimination, harassment, unethical donations for scholarships, and whistleblower retaliation.

Athletic Director, Brandon Martin instructed West to terminate one of his male assistant coaches to make room for a female assistant coach, the suit alleges.

The crux of West’s lawsuit lies in whistleblower retaliation, a serious violation of employee rights that often go unreported due to fear of reprisals. In this situation, West claims to have fallen victim to retaliation following his exposure of alleged impropriety within the university’s department.

In addition to this, West reports incidents of discrimination and harassment. He points out the university’s resistance to renewing his contract, expressing an intention to replace him with a female. This seeming gender-bias raises questions about illegal discrimination within hiring and contracting practices.

“The president wants a female in your position.”

Further adding to the university’s list of alleged violations, West reveals he was pressured to use his recruitment abilities to target a potential student athlete based on their potential financial contributions to the school. This brings to light the questionable practice of procuring donations for scholarships, a practice that deeply undermines the merit-based principle that should ideally govern academic scholarships.

In the wake of these accusations, West was subjected to an investigation and subsequent termination, causing him considerable losses, both financial and emotional. His case illuminating potential gross abuses of power and violations of both employment and educational law that should not be dismissed or ignored.

As this case unfolds, it serves as an important reminder of the dire need for transparency, fairness, and ethical practices in higher institutions. We must ensure that illegal discrimination, harassment, and whistleblower retaliation are not swept under the rug, and we must question practices like donations for scholarships that compromise the integrity of higher education.

INDIGENOUS AMERICAN DISCRIMINATION IN TRAVEL INDUSTRY

Indigenous American discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles.

Incident at Grand Gateway Hotel Highlights the Urgency for Inclusion in the Travel Industry

The Department of Justice recently reached an agreement with the Grand Gateway Hotel in South Dakota. Under this agreement, owner Connie Uhre is barred from any involvement in the company or its subsidiary businesses due to her discriminatory remarks against Indigenous Americans. However, the hotel is now facing fresh allegations of anti-Indigenous practices, this time involving Connie’s son, Nick Uhre. This recent lawsuit is not the Grand Gateway Hotel’s first complaint when it comes to being accused of anti-Indigenous behavior.

One such incident occurred in October when Ryan and Jessica White, a married couple from Wisconsin, saw their reservation canceled upon check-in. They took legal action against the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino in Rapid City. According to the lawsuit, the Whites made reservations for three rooms through booking agent Travelocity. Jessica, who is white, faced no issues during check-in. However, when Ryan, an Indigenous American, entered the lobby, the employee (believed to be Nick Uhre) refused to process their check-in or honor their reservation.

Despite the Whites’ attempts to provide their confirmation number, the employee refused to acknowledge it or check the hotel’s system. The lawsuit also alleges that the employee yelled at a Travelocity representative to “speak English!” while discussing the reservation. The situation escalated when the employee asked Ryan White to leave the lobby, called security and threatened to involve law enforcement. Feeling threatened and discriminated against, the White family left the hotel and had to make another reservation through Travelocity.

The lawsuit argues that this incident is part of a larger pattern of discrimination by the Grand Gateway Hotel, creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment for Native Americans. Expedia Group, the parent company of Travelocity, has suspended the Grand Gateway Hotel from their platforms while further investigating the travelers’ experience. They have emphasized their zero-tolerance policy towards harassment, violence, and discrimination.

“It is crucial to address incidents of discrimination and foster an inclusive environment for all guests. At Expedia Group, we prioritize the safety and well-being of our customers and will take appropriate action against any form of harassment or discrimination. We stand with our Indigenous community and will continue to support and promote diversity and equality in the travel industry.”

In March 2022, The Daily Beast reported that the former owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel, Connie Uhre, made social media posts suggesting that the hotel would ban all Native Americans from the property following a recent incident. These posts sparked controversy as Connie stated that she couldn’t distinguish between “good” and “bad” Native Americans. However, Nick Uhre, speaking to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, clarified that Indigenous Americans are not banned from staying at the hotel.

Following these events, the NDN Collective, an Indigenous activist organization based in South Dakota, filed a complaint against the hotel, Connie Uhre, and Nick Uhre for explicit racial discrimination. As if the social media comments weren’t enough, Connie was arrested and charged with three counts of assault in May 2022 for allegedly spraying cleaning solutions at Indigenous Americans protesting outside the hotel.

In October 2022, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the hotel for civil rights violations. The DOJ settled the case on November 11, 2023, demanding that Connie Uhre be removed from her position for four years and that the hotel and its owners issue a public apology specifically to tribal organizations in South Dakota and the Great Plains region. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized that the defendants’ actions were reminiscent of a long history of prejudice and exclusion faced by Native American communities.

The White family, who were involved in the incident, have filed a lawsuit seeking a trial by jury and financial relief.

Content derived from writing and reporting by Brooke Leigh Howard.

WORKERS SAY THEY FACED DISCRIMINATION WORKING FOR THE CHICAGO UTILITY

Peoples Gas accused of racial discrimination by several employees.

Nearly a Dozen Former and Current Peoples Gas Workers Say in the Federal Lawsuit that the Company Racially Discriminated Against Black Employees in the Chicago Area

Letitia Jackson was excited about her job at one of the state’s largest utility companies, where few other professionals of color worked.

“For me to be the face of a Black woman that could say I know how to do construction, I know how to do piping,” Jackson said. “I was really proud of that and to say that I work at Peoples Gas — that was something I was proud of.”

But her aspirations of climbing the ranks of Peoples Gas fizzled as she started experiencing a culture she and other workers say discriminates against employees of color. She’s among 11 former and current Peoples Gas employees who filed a federal lawsuit against Peoples Gas, saying that non-Black workers sexualize workers and customers of color and face racial slurs.

According to the lawsuit, Peoples Gas assigned Black workers to an area that includes the South Side, and they frequently get assigned to jobs in neighborhoods without security where some have faced attacks. The workers also allege that the company did not address concerns about workplace racism and hazards.

Peoples Gas said the accusations aren’t true.

“We adamantly deny the allegations made by these individuals, including the extreme and false claims of racial bias, and will vigorously defend the suit. We provide a workplace with equal opportunities for all employees, including a long-standing unionized field workforce,” the utility stated.

During Jackson’s time with the company, she endured comments from coworkers about her clothes and speculation about what she would do for money, according to the lawsuit. It was part of a pattern other workers reported experiencing. One worker said coworkers speculated about his sex life because he is a Black man, while others heard fellow employees make sexual comments about Black customers.

Garland Eleby, another plaintiff, remembers on his first day of work hearing a white coworker using a racial slur.

“Nobody flinched,” said Eleby, who still works for Peoples Gas. “Nobody looked up or asked, ‘Hey, what’s wrong with you?’ Nothing. It rolled off the tongue like he said it every day.”

In addition to placing a more significant proportion of its Black employees in the South Side service area, the company also places them in communities with higher rates of crime. The lawsuit describes how current and former employees have been the victims of attacks, robberies, and attempted robberies.

Eleby claimed that after being assigned to work in an area overnight where a car wreck had disrupted service, he and several coworkers were robbed at gunpoint a little over a year into his career. He claimed that later, they had to remain in the same location for six or seven hours.

“I was really upset,” Eleby said. “I was disgusted. It was like we got sent into a battle with no proper gear or anything. It was just like no regard for how we felt.”

Recalling a shooting she saw while on the job, Jackson said, left her so shaken up that she drove in reverse.

When I returned to the shop, my supervisor only offered me a hot dog,” she said. “I am crying, bawling in tears, wanting to go home, and I was told, well, you’ll have to use your own [paid time off] to go home.”

Letitia Jackson, a former Peoples Gas employee, is among nearly a dozen former and current employees filing a federal lawsuit against the company over alleged safety and racial discrimination.

In a written statement, Peoples Gas said it utilizes private security and works with the Chicago police to support the safety of employees when deemed appropriate.

The lawsuit says discriminatory practices for Black employees affected overtime, promotions, and discipline.

“I just want to come to work and do my job,” said Towns, who has returned to Peoples Gas. “Do the best job that I could possibly do and just go home. I hate to have to be the person here to bring light to this particular situation, but it’s inevitable.”

Jason Towns, who’s one of those suing, said he thinks racism played a role in his termination in 2022. He was part of a crew that damaged an underground service line, but Towns said his white coworker was not disciplined.

It’s one of the reasons why Towns said he felt compelled to speak out after seeking other avenues of change with no results.

“I just want to come to work and do my job,” said Towns, who has returned to Peoples Gas. “Do the best job that I could possibly do and just go home. I hate to have to be the person here to bring light to this particular situation, but it’s inevitable.”

Based on reporting by Elvia Malagón.

RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION LAWSUIT – TRIPLE CANOPY, INC. TO PAY $110,759

Religious discrimination, retaliation for refusing accommodation for employees beard.

Government Contractor Settles Federal Lawsuit Alleging It Failed to Provide Religious Accommodations and Retaliated Against Employee

Summary:

  • Triple Canopy, a Virginia-based company providing protective services to federal agencies, will pay a former employee $110,759 and provide other relief to settle a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Triple Canopy denied a religious accommodation to an employee who held a Christian belief that men must wear beards because the employee was unable to provide additional substantiation of his beliefs or a supporting statement from a certified or documented religious leader.
  • The EEOC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
  • Under a three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, in addition to monetary relief for the affected employee, Triple Canopy will institute and disseminate a new religious accommodation policy; provide training on religious discrimination and retaliation; and report to the EEOC quarterly on any complaints of religious discrimination and retaliation.

Triple Canopy, Inc., a company based in Reston, Virginia that provides protective services to federal agencies, has settled a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by agreeing to pay a former employee $110,759 and provide other relief, as announced by the agency.

“Title VII broadly defines religion; it applies not only to mainstream religious beliefs that are part of a formal religious group, but also to all aspects of an individual’s religious observance, practice, and belief. When religion conflicts with a work requirement, employers must provide an accommodation unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.”

The EEOC’s lawsuit claims that Triple Canopy refused to provide a religious accommodation to an employee who believed that men must wear beards due to their Christian faith because the employee was unable to provide additional evidence of his beliefs or a statement from a certified or documented religious leader. The lawsuit also stated that Triple Canopy retaliated against the employee by subjecting him to intolerable working conditions that resulted in his constructive discharge.

The alleged behavior is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which mandates that employers accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would result in undue hardship and prohibits retaliation against anyone who complains about discrimination. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Triple Canopy, Inc., Civil Action No.1:23-cv-1500) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

“This lawsuit raised serious issues of discrimination and retaliation. We are pleased that Triple Canopy was willing to agree to an early resolution that will compensate the affected former employee and also improve its handling of religious accommodation requests going forward.”

Under a three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, in addition to monetary relief for the affected employee, Triple Canopy will create and disseminate a new religious accommodation policy, provide training on religious discrimination and retaliation, and report quarterly to the EEOC on any claims of religious discrimination and retaliation.

Debra M. Lawrence, the EEOC’s Philadelphia Regional Attorney, stated, “This lawsuit raised serious issues of discrimination and retaliation. We are pleased that Triple Canopy was willing to agree to an early resolution that will compensate the affected former employee and also improve its handling of religious accommodation requests going forward.”

Mindy E. Weinstein, director of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office, stated, “Title VII broadly defines religion; it applies not only to mainstream religious beliefs that are part of a formal religious group, but also to all aspects of an individual’s religious observance, practice, and belief. When religion conflicts with a work requirement, employers must provide an accommodation unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.”

Age Discrimination by Medical Group Imposing Mandatory Retirement Age

Age Discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles safeguard your rights to a workplace free from age discrimination.

Scripps Clinical Medical Group recently settled an age and disability discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The federal agency investigated the allegations and found that the company violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by imposing a mandatory retirement age on physicians, regardless of their abilities to perform their jobs.

To settle the case, Scripps Clinical Medical Group entered into a four-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC. The company will pay $6,875,000 to a class of individuals impacted by the mandatory retirement policy. Additionally, the company has rescinded the policy, and the Board of Directors will reaffirm this action.

Scripps Clinical Medical Group will inform employees that the company does not have any policy in which age is a factor in making employment decisions. The company will also review, revise, and distribute its policies and procedures against discrimination based on age and disability. Moreover, it will require division heads, department heads, executive leadership, and members of human resources to attend training on the ADEA and ADA. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.

The EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows emphasized the importance of protecting older workers and identified discrimination against them as one of the Commission’s priorities in its new Strategic Enforcement Plan. Anna Y. Park, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, commended Scripps Clinical Medical Group for addressing the concerns in this charge and for rescinding its discriminatory policy.

Jacquelyn Famber, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Office, noted that mandatory retirement age based on assumptions and stereotypes is against the law, and the EEOC will continue to pursue such discriminatory policies. Older workers are valuable members of our workforce, and their age should not be used to make employment-based decisions.

Over $3 Million Award in Racial Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation Lawsuit

Sexual harassment, race discrimination and retaliation lawyers of Helmer Friedman LLP.

A Georgia woman has won more than a $3 million judgment in a racial discrimination, sexual and race harassment, and retaliation lawsuit Marshall v. Tidal Wave Response, LLC and its owner, John Myers.

According to Channel 2 Action News and the law firm Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, Tiphony Marshall won the largest single-plaintiff verdict in the Northern District of Georgia’s history.

“The case involved evidence of virulent racial and sexual harassment of Ms. Marshall,” said the law firm in a press release. “Culminating in a violent incident that caused her to flee from the workplace.”

Marshall was an office manager for the water damage restoration company in the Atlanta suburb of Chamblee, Georgia, and claimed she was subjected to “abusive and misogynistic” treatment by her employer, including being forced to change his baby’s diapers, enduring comments about his penis and racial intimidation.

Marshall began working for the company in February of 2018 but resigned on Aug. 6, 2021, after being subjected to Myers’ harassment on “a near-daily basis,” which ended after a confrontation where he threw hot coffee at Marshall.

Myers forced her to watch his infant and change the child’s diapers, calling it a “task suited for a woman.” He also forced her to do the job of a terminated project manager, commented on his penis size, and mocked his interpretation of Black vernacular.

Myers forced her to watch his infant and change the child’s diapers, calling it a “task suited for a woman.”

“The case involved evidence of virulent racial and sexual harassment of Ms. Marshall,” said the law firm in a press release. “Culminating in a violent incident that caused her to flee from the workplace.”

Other reported harassment included Myers repeatedly questioning Marshall about her sex life and implying she was sleeping with a co-worker. Myers also asked Marshall if she thought a potential employee was “hot” and asked about her breast size. The complaint noted Myers’ making “sexually charged noises” and saying he was “sexually aroused” as well.

The court heard that Myers would also suggest that Marshall “get with” the men he interviewed, and he would often comment on her physical appearance and whether she was wearing form-fitting clothing.

The Tidal Wave owner also falsely told a room full of employees that Marshall had been raped and tried to pay her commissions with $100 bills that he’d rubbed on his crotch area. Myers also made comments about the size of his penis and would yell for Marshall from the bathroom to “come and help [ ] hold it” while he urinated.

The lawsuit also alleges Myers told Marshall and a group of Black and Hispanic employees that he was “better than” them. He also said they would never “get anything better” than their current jobs with Tidal.

The lawsuit also contends that he mocked his idea of Black vernacular, once saying to Marshall, “Do I call you Black? Do I call you African American? Do I say ‘yo, what’s up?’” Myers also “would skirt around the use of derogatory racial slurs” but stopped just before using the slurs. He also allegedly punched holes in his office walls and threatened violence against employees.

The lawsuit states that Marshall confronted her boss about the extra duties on Aug. 4, two days before she left her position with the company. The complaint says that Myers “became irate, shouted profanities, and threw a cup of hot coffee near her,” causing Marshall to “fear for her safety” and flee the office.

The jury deliberated for four hours before awarding Marshall back pay of $50,113.82. She was also awarded compensatory and punitive damages for race discrimination, racial harassment, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation, with the total awarded being $3,470,393.82.

After the verdict, Marshall’s attorney Ed Buckley said Myers and his lawyers fled the courtroom before the proceedings had ended.

“This is the first time I’ve had the defendant and their lawyers flee the courtroom during a trial,” Buckley said in a statement. “The admissions and evidence were presumably so overwhelming that they did not want to face the jury.”

Read more by Niko Mann.

Racial Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment – SFSD Clerks Awarded Over $1 Million in Lawsuit

Trust the attorneys of Helmer Friedman LLP to aggressively protect employee rights to a workplace free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Two Black employees of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department have sued the city, alleging racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation while on the job. Danielle Dillard and Kim Lee work as clerks processing warrants for criminal suspects. They claim that they have been subjected to a workplace culture of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

It Broke Me Down

The conditions at work worsened for Dillard and Lee after they complained about alleged discriminatory acts by co-workers and superiors that had been happening for several years. Among several other claims, Dillard says a supervisor referred to her as a “monkey” in 2016 after she introduced herself as a clerk and shop steward with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021 union.

Ms. Dillard would spend her lunch and rest times crying due to the hostile atmosphere she found herself in, not being able to speak at all to colleagues.

Dillard claims she received racial discrimination complaints from other Sheriff’s Department employees as a union shop steward and brought them to Captain James Quanico, who oversees Dillard’s unit. A month later, Dillard claims she was served with a cease-and-desist order stating she could not communicate with employees in her division. Lee’s discrimination allegations also began in 2016.

On November 15, 2023, a jury awarded Danielle Dillard $523,400 and Kim Lee $616,000 for their racial discrimination lawsuit against the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and the City Attorney’s Office released a joint statement claiming they oppose harassment and discriminatory behavior.

“As one of the most diverse sheriff’s departments in the nation that values equity and inclusion, any form of harassment or discriminatory behavior is antithetical to our values. We are surprised and disappointed by the outcome of this case and will be working with the City Attorney’s Office to evaluate any next steps.”

Anxiety Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Citizens Bank

Federal laws protect employees from discrimination, employer retaliation.

Anxiety Disability Discrimination Lawsuit against Citizens Bank Settles for $100,000

Citizens Bank has been accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to accommodate a call center employee who developed an anxiety disorder. The employee requested reassignment to a position that did not require him to field calls with aggravated customers over the phone. Despite having hundreds of nearby job openings, Citizens Bank refused to reassign the employee or discuss alternative accommodations until he returned to his job at the call center, the same position his disability prevented him from performing. As a result, the employee was forced to resign.

“We’ve seen a huge uptick in the number of potential or prospective clients calling us since the pandemic began with regard to either mental health issues in general or anxiety and PTSD.” Andrew H. Friedman – in an Law360 article entitled, No Letup in Sight as Anxiety-Related EEOC Charges Mount.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit (EEOC v. Citizens Bank, N.A., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00362) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC alleges that Citizens Bank violated the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against employees with disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, including reassignment.

According to the EEOC, 2600 workers lodged anxiety-related disability discrimination charges in 2021. Citizens Bank has agreed to a 30-month consent decree that includes monetary relief and other measures to support employees with disabilities. The bank will offer noncompetitive reassignment as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. The bank will also revise its reasonable accommodation policy, train its employees on noncompetitive reassignment as a reasonable accommodation, provide specialized training to its human resources department, and appoint an internal monitor to ensure compliance with the decree.

The EEOC is committed to enforcing the ADA and ensuring that qualified employees with disabilities can return to work. Citizens Bank will implement company-wide policy changes and pay $100,000 to a former Cranston, Rhode Island, call center employee to resolve the disability discrimination lawsuit.

More information about disability discrimination is available at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc-disability-related-resources.