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Employee Forced To Quit Because Of Racial & Disability Harassment EEOC Lawsuit Claims

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On April 10, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release announcing that it has filed a hostile work environment harassment lawsuit against Baccarat, Inc. (Baccarat). On April 10, 2020, the EEOC filed the case, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Baccarat, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-2918, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York after initially seeking to reach a pre-litigation resolution of the case through its statutorily required conciliation process.

The EEOC has brought the hostile work environment harassment lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on behalf of a former employee of Baccarat, Craig Madison (Madison). Under Title VII, employees are protected against racial discrimination, including racial harassment. Under the ADA, employees are protected against disability discrimination, including disability harassment. The EEOC claims that Baccarat violated the federal anti-discrimination laws by requiring Madison to work in a hostile work environment based on his race and disability. The EEOC further claims that Baccarat violated the federal anti-discrimination laws by constructively discharging Madison because of its failure to prevent the hostile work environment harassment from continuing. In this article, our Marion County, Florida hostile work environment lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Baccarat.

Employee Claims Racial Harassment

Baccarat operates a retail store in Manhattan that sells luxury products. Madison, who is African-American, was employed by Baccarat as a sales consultant at its Madison Avenue store from June 2014 until August 2018. Throughout his employment, according to the EEOC, Madison was subjected to a daily barrage of racially harassing behavior by co-workers. One co-worker told Madison on a number of occasions, “I love black people, everyone should own one.” Approximately once a week, another co-worker would say, “Black men are more like children.” One co-worker told Madison that his mother was on drugs, and another co-worker asked Madison if he was born out of wedlock. When Madison told the store’s general manager that he lived in Harlem, the general manager said that if she went to Harlem, she would need to wear a “bulletproof vest” and that black people would run after her to try to steal her Chanel bag.

Employee Claims Disability Harassment

The EEOC further alleges that Madison, who has dyslexia, was subjected to persistent harassment because of his learning disability. One co-worker asked Madison, “What in your small miniscule-size sponge thing that you call a brain would make you think that you are up [next to help a customer]?” This same co-worker frequently told Madison that he should commit suicide by jumping off a bridge and that Madison should quit. Another co-worker continuously made derogatory remarks that questioned Madison’s intellectual ability and whether Madison should be working for Baccarat. On numerous occasions, the harassing co-workers also told Madison that he was “nothing.”

Employee Forced To Quit Due To Harassment

In the course of his employment, according to the EEOC, Madison complained to his general manager about the harassment approximately twenty times. Despite his persistent complaints to the general manager, the hostile work environment harassment continued throughout Madison’s employment. The EEOC further alleges that Madison complained to the human resources director about the harassment. Shortly after his complaint, employees at the Madison Avenue store were provided with a one-hour anti-discrimination training session. Approximately two weeks after the anti-discrimination training, the harassment against Madison resumed. Once the harassment resumed, Madison continued to complain to the store’s general manager about the harassment. The general manager, the EEOC contends, did not take any action to end the harassment. At the end of December 2017, Madison began a medical leave of absence because of the toll the harassment was taking on his well-being. In August 2018, Madison, having concluded that he could no longer tolerate going back to work, was forced to quit because of the ongoing, unremedied hostile work environment harassment.

Workplace Must Be Free Of Harassment

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In enforcing the federal anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of employees who have endured abuse because of their race or disability. In a press release issued by the EEOC on April 10, 2020 regarding the case, the acting director for the EEOC’s New York District Office, Judy Keenan, explained that the “law requires employers that receive reports of harassment to investigate and take prompt corrective action to stop and remedy unlawful conduct in the workplace.” In commenting on the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, Jeffrey Burstein, stated that the “ineffective implementation of anti-harassment policies is essentially the same as not having any at all.” “The EEOC is committed to protecting the rights of all employees under Title VII and the ADA,” Mr. Burstein added, “so that employees can work with dignity.”

Consult With Ocala Hostile Environment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida hostile work environment attorneys have dedicated their practice to vindicating the rights of employees. If you have been subjected to hostile work environment harassment or have questions about your rights as a victim of hostile work environment harassment, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida hostile work environment lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes hostile work environment cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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