Our readers know by now that under its Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”) the EEOC is targeting harassment against “vulnerable workers,” such as migrant workers; disability discrimination fueled by “myths, fears, and stereotypes;” and pregnancy discrimination. Consider these latest announcements by the EEOC.
A federal jury awarded $24,000 in back pay, $20,000 for emotional distress, and $65,000 in punitive damages to an employee who suffered from epilepsy and was fired despite the fact that he was cleared by doctors to go back to work. The EEOC alleged that the employer failed to make reasonable accommodations, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), with the EEOC General Counsel saying that "The ADA ensures that persons with epilepsy and other disabilities will have fair employment opportunities that are not impeded by ‘myths, fears, and stereotypes."
In a new settlement, the EEOC announced that “The Spud Seller,” a potato wholesaler in Colorado, has agreed to pay $255,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit where the warehouse supervisor repeatedly harassed at least 10 female hourly employees who worked as potato sorters. Over a six-year period, he repeatedly made sexual comments, groped and touched them, exposed himself to them, and solicited sexual acts.
An EEOC attorney said “The EEOC considers protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers from discrimination and harassment a priority under the Strategic Enforcement Plan."
Finally, a Milwaukee school agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination suit by paying $37,500, where a pregnant employee was fired by a supervisor in violation of the school’s own written policies.