Workplace Discrimination: Three Groundbreaking Cases
Written by Cooper & Friedman on August 20, 2020
Workplace discrimination happens more than you may think. There have been many moves in the right direction in the past few decades. However, it is very important to continue to educate ourselves and to know our rights as employees.
What is employment or workplace discrimination? This is a form of discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or age in the workplace. It can occur during the hiring process or when an employee already works at a company and an employer treats them differently than others. According to the National Conferences of State Legislatures, there are several federal laws in place that enforce the non-discrimination of employees and potential employees in the workplace.
In this article, we’ll take a look at three discrimination cases that have paved the way for employees. These cases, along with hundreds of other discrimination cases, are the building blocks of change for the workplace.
Workplace Discrimination: An Overview of 3 Legal Cases
Butler v. Home Depot, Inc. (1996)
This case was brought before the court by Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian, & Ho on behalf of female employees and applicants for positions in Home Depot’s Western Region. They argued Home Depot did not give females the same chance as males when applying and working . The United States District Court for the Northern District of California certified the case as a class action. The case was settled for $87.5 million. Plus, there was a seven year compliance period in which Home Depot was urged to undergo many changes to its personnel practice nationwide to ensure equal employment opportunities for all employees and to increase the number of female employees in sales and management positions.
The case brought equal opportunity employment for both men and women. Fortunately, Home Depot has complied with all of the terms set by this case. The number of women in sales and management has increased and strict rules about equality in the workplace have also been set.
Lockheed Martin v. Robert Braden
In this case, Robert Braden began working for RCA in 1984. After a series of mergers, he became an employee of Lockheed Martin in 1995. He continued to work there for 17 years and rose to the senior staff level as a project specialist. In 2012, during layoffs, he lost his job at the age of 66 without specific reasons. At the time there were 110 employees who shared Braden’s job title. However, only 5 lost their jobs, each of them over the age of 50. Throughout his career, Braden had noted and observed signs of age discrimination. This included lower performance review scores for older team members.
After he was fired, Braden sued Lockheed Martin under The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The jury found in favor of Braden, and he was awarded over $51 million.
EEOC v. The Laquila Group, Inc. (2017)
In 2017, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that the Laquila Group, Inc. engaged in systematic discrimination against African-American employees by subjecting them to racial harassment including name calling. The commission also alleged that the company fired an employee who complained about the harassment. The company paid $625,000 into a class settlement fund. They additionally had to take measures to prevent racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace. They also had to create a hotline for employees to report discrimination and provide anti-discrimination training to all managers. Plus, they had to revise anti-discrimination policies and report all worker harassment and retaliation complaints directly to the EEOC for 42 months.
Workplace discrimination is more common than we often realize. If you are a party to or witness any discrimination in the workplace, you should seek out legal help. The attorneys at Cooper and Friedman PLLC have been serving the needs of clients in Louisville, Kentucky, and throughout the entire State of Kentucky and Southern, Indiana, since 1991. For more information or to schedule a free case consultation with an attorney, give us a call at 502-459-7555.