EEOC Files Flurry of Cases on Eve of Government Shutdown
Another noteworthy suit was filed against Mobile, Ala.-based Catastrophe Management Solutions in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The EEOC alleges race discrimination in hiring because a black applicant wore dreadlocks.
According to the EEOC, the applicant was hired as a customer service representative, but was told that the company did not allow dreadlocks and that she would have to cut them off to work there. She said no and the company rescinded the job offer.
The EEOC said that crossed the line. "The EEOC will not tolerate employment discrimination against African-American employees because they choose to wear and display the natural texture of their hair, manage and style their hair in a manner amenable to it, or manage and style their hair in a manner differently from non-blacks," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC's Birmingham, Ala., office, in a news release.
A Catastrophe representative could not be reached for comment.
The EEOC went after Wal-Mart for alleged religious and national-origin harassment in a case filed in Maryland federal court on behalf of Ebrima Jallow, an employee who is Gambian and Muslim.
According to the EEOC, the store manager (whose race is not specified in the EEOC complaint, but race-based harassment is not alleged) suggested "that people of Jallow’s national origin contributed to the enslavement of Africans in America," and that he should "go back to Africa." The manager also allegedly objected to hiring a Muslim and said that that "all Muslims do is blow up buildings and people."
In a written statement, Walmart said it "does not condone or tolerate discrimination or retaliation of any kind, and Mr. Jallow’s employment ended for legitimate business reasons."
Wells Fargo was hit with a sexual harassment suit, but in a twist, the alleged harassers—a supervisor and teller—are women, as are the alleged victims, four bank tellers in Reno, Nev., who said they "regularly faced graphic sexual comments, gestures and images" from the other women.
"Sexual harassment is illegal, regardless of whether the harasser is female or male, the same or opposite gender as the victim," EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William Tamayo said in a news release. "Federal law requires employers to protect their workers from harassment and sexual abuse, especially at the hands of a manager."
The suit was filed in Nevada federal court.