Tag Archives: EEOC

Hospitality Industry Conference Update: “2015 Hospitality Law Conference”

The speakers, panelists, roundtable hosts, and facilitators of the 2015 Hospitality Law Conference represent the full spectrum of key roles in the hospitality industry:hlc2015 Private attorneys, hotel and restaurant corporate counsel, risk managers,finance executives, real estate developers, human resources managers, loss prevention managers, insurance brokers, and hotel and restaurant owners, managers, and operators

Hospitality Insurance and Loss Prevention Summit: The Petra Risk Solutions Hospitality Insurance and Loss Prevention Summit converges insurance, risk, LP, legal and finance to break down the silos of these functional areas. As we do each year, we begin with the top claims that have occurred over the last twelve months and the best practices to prevent them from occurring at your hotel or restaurant. As Worker Compensation Claims are becoming more of a challenge for the industry, we will take a deeper dive into best practices for prevention, claims handling and back to work policies.

For more: http://bit.ly/1zX3RBh

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “New Year, New Challenges: What Hospitality Employers Need to Know”

As state and federal budget cuts tend to wane, the Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to step up enforcement against hospitality employers in the coming year. restaurant workerBecause the DOL considers the hospitality industry as a “fissured” industry, owners, franchisors, franchisees and management companies should be prepared to deal with inquiries, particularly in the areas of tipped employees and the misclassification of employees.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hospitality sector added 321,000 additional jobs in 2014. With all those new employees, as well as the continued addition of jobs we expect to see in coming year, here are our top predictions for labor law issues that will play a vital role in the hospitality industry in 2015.

For more: http://bit.ly/17E9sRJ

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “As Marijuana Becomes Legal in More States, How Should Employers Handle Positive Drug Tests?”

“…Hospitality employers also need to be aware of potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) associated with medical marijuana.  Employers with facilities in states that allow medical marijuana use may need to provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA for employees with a valid doctor’s authorization. 042314_acuna_marijuana_640 For instance, the New York statute permitting medical marijuana use automatically classifies every individual who is considered a Certified Patient as disabled.  Therefore, New York employers must engage in an interactive process with the employee to determine whether they need to provide the employee with a reasonable accommodation…”

Due to the ever changing laws surrounding the legality of marijuana, many of our hospitality clients have recently asked us whether it is lawful to terminate an employee who has tested positive for marijuana.  The answer varies greatly depending on the state in which you are located.

States continue to pass legislation legalizing marijuana use for specific purposes.  On July 5, 2014, New York became the twenty-first state along with the District of Columbia to legalize marijuana use for certain medical conditions—joining Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  Two other states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use for individuals who are 21 years old or older, and Alaska and Oregon currently have similar legislation pending.

For more: http://bit.ly/1Bek1W8

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Settles EEOC “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit For $40,000; Veteran Female Worker Fired For “Refusing To Wear Pants To Work”

The EEOC’s complaint alleged that the  companies informed Silver she must wear pants to work because of their dress  code policy.  According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionthe EEOC,  Silver told Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home she could not  wear pants because of her religious beliefs.   However, the companies ultimately fired her for refusing to wear pants  to work.

Scottish Food Systems,  Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc. will pay $40,000 and furnish other  relief to resolve a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Com­mission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take  Home are based in Laurinburg, N.C.  and  jointly operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in North  Carolina.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Sheila  Silver converted to Pentecostalism in 2010.   As a member of the Pentecostal church, Silver believes women cannot wear  pants.  In accordance with this religious  belief, Silver has not worn pants since the fall of 2010.  Silver has worked for various Kentucky Fried  Chicken restaurants since 1992.  Scottish  Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home purchased the KFC restaurant where  Silver worked in Rocky Mount, N.C., in April 2013.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil  Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which requires employers to reasonably  accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs as long as doing so would not pose  an undue hardship.  The EEOC filed suit on  September 19, 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North  Carolina (EEOC v. Scottish Food Systems,  Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-00796)  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

In  addition to monetary damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit  requires Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home to adopt a formal  religious accommodation policy and to conduct an annual training program on the  requirements of Title VII and its prohibition against religious discrimination.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take  Home will also post a copy of their anti-discrimination policy at all of their  facilities.

“Employers  must accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious belief when such an  accommodation would not pose an undue hardship,” said  Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District  Office.  “This case demonstrates the  EEOC’s continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the  workplace.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing  federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.  Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov

For more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-23-13.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: California Restaurant Group Settles “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit With EEOC For $50,000; Trainer Fired For Growing Beard

“…The EEOC had charged that a restaurant formerly owned by McDonald’s in Fresno refused a request from a Muslim employee, a crew trainer, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionto grow a beard for religious reasons which lead to his constructive discharge in September 2005…Aside from the monetary relief for the crew trainer, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides that McDonald’s will reinforce training of its managers and staff and redistribute its existing policies related to religious discrimination and accommodation…”

McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc. will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires that employers make reasonable accommodations to the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees and applicants as long as this causes no harm to the business.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-02065AWI-SAB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“We commend McDonald’s for its commitment to training and ensuring that its staff and managers are well-versed on laws relating to religious discrimination,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.  “We hope other employers follow McDonald’s lead in promoting training and development of extensive anti-discrimination policies.”

Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, said, “Workers have the right to request an accommodation which would allow them to work while still practicing their religious beliefs.  Employers must consider such requests and ensure that no negative actions are taken against workers who exercise this right.”

The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.

For more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-20-13a.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: National Restaurant Chain Settles “Age Discrimination” Lawsuit With EEOC For $575,000; “Discriminatory Barriers To Hiring” For Applicants Over 40

Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will pay $575,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionEmployment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC alleged that Ruby Tuesday engaged in a pattern or practice of age discrimination against job applicants who were 40 years of age or older at six of the chain’s restaurants located in West Mifflin, Greensburg, Altoona, Du Bois, and Indiana, Pa., and in Beachwood, Ohio, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

The restaurant chain also failed to preserve employment records, including employment applications, as required by the ADEA and EEOC regulations, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania (EEOC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., Civil Action No. 09-1330).

“This case demonstrates the agency’s ongoing commitment to challenge discriminatory barriers to hiring,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez.  “Vigorous law enforcement efforts on behalf of older workers are critical to the EEOC’s mission to eradicate barriers to employment.”

EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, “The EEOC is committed to combatting unlawful age discrimination in the workplace and will hold employers responsible if they make hiring decisions based on age rather than the applicant’s ability to do the job.”

In addition to the $575,000 in monetary relief, the three-and-one-half-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Ruby Tuesday from engaging in future age discrimination or retaliation and provides substantial non-monetary relief at the affected Ruby Tuesday locations.

Among other things, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will:

  • Implement numerical goals for hiring and recruitment of job applicants age 40 and older at the affected locations;
  • Review its job advertisements to make certain they do not violate the ADEA’s prohibitions against age discrimination;
  • Conduct audits, including random reviews of hiring decisions, to ensure non-discrimination and compliance with the terms of the consent decree;
  • Evaluate the job performance of people with hiring authority for the six stores named in the consent decree and set their compensation (including bonuses), in part, based on their degree of success in helping Ruby Tuesday achieve its goals of ensuring that its recruitment and hiring practices provide equal employment opportunities for people who are 40 or older;
  • Designate a decree compliance monitor for oversight of compliance with the requirements of the ADEA and the terms of the consent decree;
  • Provide extensive training on the requirements of the ADEA and the consent decree to the decree compliance monitor, human resources personnel and hiring authorities of the six stores named in the consent decree; and
  • Report to the EEOC and keep records about its hiring practices and compliance with the consent decree.

Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “We are pleased that Ruby Tuesday worked with us to craft a comprehensive settlement that will benefit all employees and applicants.  In addition to the monetary compensation for the class members, the extensive training and equitable measures are designed to improve recruitment and hiring of older workers and protect all applicants from age discrimination.”

According to its website, www.rubytuesday.com, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. has nearly 800 company-owned and franchised restaurants and more than 40,000 corporate and franchise team members.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.  The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the agency is available at its website, http://www.eeoc.gov.

For more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-9-13.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Pennsylvania Restaurant Sued By Worker For “Religious Discrimination”; Claims New Manager Reduced Hours, Created Hostile Work Environment

“…At the start of her employment, (the plaintiff) informed the defendant that she could not work on Thursdays and Sundays due to her religious Hospitality Industry Discrimination Lawsuitsbeliefs…In June 2011, after a woman identified as Aretha Foster became the plaintiff’s store manager, Matthews had her hours reduced to 15 a week from 35…The complaint alleges that Foster also subjected the plaintiff to an increasingly hostile work environment, that the supervisor would deny Matthews her breaks, and that the woman would verbally abuse the plaintiff in front of other staff members…”

A Jehovah’s Witness from southeastern Pennsylvania is suing a Louisiana-based restaurant over allegations that the company discriminated against her because of her religion. Jonna Matthews, who currently resides in Pottstown, Montgomery County, filed suit at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Nov. 26 against America’s Pizza Co. over the allegedly discriminatory treatment she received at the hands of the defendant while she was employed as a customer service representative beginning in early February 2011.

The plaintiff, however, maintains that she never asked for the reduction in hours and was still available to work Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The defendant stands accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of religion.

“Plaintiff suffered adverse job actions, including, but not limited to, disciplines, denials of various opportunities, and termination,” the suit states.

For more:  http://pennrecord.com/news/12247-montco-woman-sues-louisiana-restaurant-over-religious-discrimination

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