Many people enquire about Workplace Bullying Lawsuits or having to work for a bullying boss, unfortunately the reality is that bullying is likely not illegal in your area. But, workplace bullying can often lead to Hostile Work Environments with many EEOC lawsuits & settlements highlighted below.
Over the years there have been some notable cases brought by employees who have been discriminated against in one way or the other and have had to endure working in hostile work environments.
Below are some notable cases:
Can victims of hostile work environments and discrimination find justice?
A federal jury awarded $200,000 in punitive damages to three former employees of AA Foundries in a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged AA Foundries, Inc., a local San Antonio manufacturer of ferrous castings and producer of foundry mold machines, with racially harassing its African-American employees in violation of federal law.
One African-American employee testified at trial that he filed an EEOC complaint because he wanted his children to learn not to be prejudiced against others nor for others to be prejudiced against them in the workplace.
AA Foundries Superintendent, the top plant official, not only used the “N” word himself, but admitted that it did not bother him that derogatory racial slurs were commonly heard in the workplace.
The superintendent also called adult African-American male employees “mother-f—g boys,” posted racially-tinged written material in the break room, and routinely slandered them referring to them as “you people” and accusing African-Americans of always stealing and wanting welfare.
After several employees filed racial harassment charges with the EEOC, a noose was displayed at the AA Foundries workplace. In response to employee complaints about this noose, the superintendent described such reports as “BS” and stated the noose “was no big deal” and that “you people are too sensitive.”
This type of conduct constitutes a hostile work environment, a form of race-based discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action Number 5:11-cv-792, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
2. Race Discrimination Settlement : Eclipse Advantage Lawsuit
Eclipse Advantage Sued by EEOC for Racially Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit…that Eclipse Advantage, Inc., violated federal law by subjecting an African-American employee to racial discrimination and retaliation at its Aldi Food Service warehouse in Hinckley, Ohio.
The EEOC charged that Rodney Williams began working in a supervisory position with the company in August 2009, and shortly thereafter was subjected to racial epithets from his superiors and was demoted complaining about a racially hostile work environment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin, race, color, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or religion and protects employees who complain about or oppose such discrimination from retaliation.
The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The EEOC seeks to eliminate these discriminatory practices and have Eclipse Advantage compensate Williams for his losses and provide equal opportunities to black employees.
3. Hostile Work Environment Settlement : Seattle City Light workers win bias lawsuit
In this case, a jury found that two employees of Seattle City Light, a Vietnamese-American and an African-American, had been discriminated against and faced a hostile work environment because of their races. The jury awarded them more than $1.4 million.
Phi Trinh, a hydroelectric-power supervisor, was discriminated against in the promotion process and the jury awarded him $947,290 for emotional harm and lost wages.
The jury also concluded that Mattie Bailey, a black communications manager, also endured workplace hostility because of her race and was not paid equitably for her work. Bailey was awarded $503,195.
4. Disability Discrimination Settlement : Benny Boyd Car Dealership to Pay $250,000 to Former Manager in EEOC Settlement
Benny Boyd Ltd. was forced to pay $250,000 in damages and back pay to former manager Randall Hurst to settle a federal disability discrimination suit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
The EEOC had charged the automobile dealership with disability discrimination law by denying a partnership to Hurst because of his multiple sclerosis, subjecting him to a hostile work environment and forcing him to quit as a result.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Hurst was wooed away from a lucrative job at another dealership by Benny Boyd to be the General Manager of its Lubbock location.
The EEOC alleged that the compensation package offered Hurst included a promise of partnership. After successfully operating the dealership for several months, Hurst was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and his medical condition was disclosed to the company’s top management staff. Thereafter, the EEOC contended, the company failed to honor its promise of extending a partnership to Hurst, and he was told that the reason was his MS.
The EEOC also alleged that Hurst’s supervisor subjected him to demeaning comments about his diagnosis, including asking him, “What’s wrong with you? Are you a cripple?” and telling him, “You are on your last quarter, buddy, since you have MS.”
The company failed to take any remedial action to stop the unwelcome behavior, the EEOC alleged.
As a result of the continuing harassment based on his disability and the substantial loss of compensation due to the denial of partnership, the EEOC contended that Hurst was forced to resign in November 2012.
The EEOC filed suit after investigating the case, finding reasonable cause to believe that the alleged discrimination took place, and then attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
5. Hostile Work Environment Settlement : Swissôtel Employment Services L.L.C. and Swissôtel Chicago, Inc.
In this case, the EEOC alleged that charging party, who worked as a steward cleaning floors and washing dishes, was subjected to a hostile work environment due to his mental impairment.
His supervisor called him a “retard,” swore at him, and threatened to have him fired. He also scheduled the charging party to back-to-back shifts something that was not required of other employees.
Despite repeated complaints to human resources department, the Defendant failed to take corrective action. The Defendant ultimately terminated the charging party in retaliation for having complained of discrimination.
The case was settled for $90,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief.
6. Disability Discrimination Settlement : Luby’s, Inc.
In this case, the Commission alleged that charging party, a floor attendant with an intellectual disability, was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her disability.
Defendant, restaurant chain, had accommodated charging party by providing a job coach for her but when a new manager took over, he refused to repeat instructions, berated her, told her to “shut up” when she asked about her job duties, and got impatient and angry with her for working and speaking slowly.
The new manager also permitted coworkers to mimic her speech, tease her about stuttering, bark at her, and threaten to hurt her with a bread slicer. Despite repeated complaints, no action was taken.
Charging party was further retaliated against and ultimately was forced to resign, i.e. constructively discharged.
Case settled for $90,000 in monetary damages and injunctive relief as well as attorney’s fees in amount of $60,000 to the Arizona Center for Disability Law, which represented her in intervening in EEOC’s suit.
7. Hostile Work Environment Settlement : Compensatory Damages Awarded To Seven Complainants Subjected To Hostile Work Environment
The complainants in this case filed an EEO complaint as a group, alleging, among other things, that the US Postal Service subjected them to a hostile work environment on the basis of sex.
Following a hearing, it was found that the Agency, ie the US Postal Service, was liable for the harassment because it did not respond to the situation. The Commission found that Complainants’ emotional and physical harm were the result of suffering years of harassment by a male coworker.
The record established that all of the Complainants were diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder because of the harassment, and many had evidence of severe emotional and physical harm.
The Commission conducted a detailed analysis of each Complainant’s damages directly attributable to the harassment.
After taking into consideration the nature of the discriminatory acts, the severity of the physical and emotional harm suffered, and the many years the Complainants suffered the harm (sometimes seven years or more), the Commission awarded each Complainant between $45,000 and $75,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages.Leggett et. al. v. U.S. Postal Serv., EEOC Appeal Nos. 0720110039, et al., (July 12, 2012).
8. Hostile Work Environment Settlement : $50,000 Awarded for Sex-Based Harassment
In this case, the complainant was subjected to hostile work environment harassment because of her sex.
The complainant indicated that the hostile work environment affected her health and caused her a great deal of stress, as well as headaches, and an upset stomach.
She had trouble sleeping and concentrating, and experienced depression and anxiety.
The complainant stated that the stress negatively affected her relationship with her husband and son.
The complainant stated that she called in sick once or twice a month because she did not want to be at work because of the hostile environment.
The record also showed that the complainant was off work for approximately three months due to the stress of the harassing events.
The Department of the Army, which was her employer did not specifically dispute any of the testimony pertaining to the pain and suffering the complainant experienced.
Therefore, the EEOC concluded that the complainant was entitled to an award of $50,000 in compensatory damages.Bradstreet v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120112517 (June 27, 2012).
What is the EEOC?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a Federal agency in the United States which enforces employment laws.
View our detailed article on how to submit issues to the EEOC and how the EEOC can help you.