Chicago Employment Lawyer Timothy Coffey Comments On Discrimination And ADA Violations On The Rise
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) February 4, 2014 – Unfair labor practices, Americans With Disabilities (ADA) violations and discrimination cases are becoming more common every year.
“Just recently, a worker at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois Assembly Plant was awarded $3.5 million in punitive damages for racial discrimination,” said Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment lawyer and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C. The Coffey Law Office is an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the plaintiff’s favor, citing the behavior of his coworkers as racially discriminatory. These employees painted racial graffiti on plant walls, used racial slurs and issued death threats against the worker. In court, Chrysler was held responsible because plant team leaders did not respond to the harassment properly.
In examining other recent lawsuits of this nature, it is startling to note that some of the biggest names in the retail industry are facing suits. Disney, Burger King, Dollar Tree, Walmart and Hallmark all have harassment lawsuits pending.
Many of these cases fail to reach a successful settlement or conclude with mediation or arbitration, so courts are faced with the ongoing challenge of redefining a worker’s rights and the actions that constitute an employer’s responsibilities when they are breached.
News reports show that the number of complaints filed by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) for discrimination has risen by 7 percent between 2009 and 2011. In 2011, 99,947 lawsuits were filed. Under the auspices of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the number of specifically disability-related lawsuits has been growing. In fact, according to research released by Syracuse University, there has been a 90 percent hike in such complaints over the last five years. In 2010, more than $404 million was awarded to workers following some form of discrimination in the workplace.
Workers are also filing for unpaid wages in increasingly large numbers. In the first seven months of 2010, 7,064 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits were filed (in 2011, 7,006 were filed in total for the year). And in 2011, roughly 275,000 workers were handed $223 million in unpaid wages. In the last three years, the U.S. Department of Labor states that FLSA suits have jumped by 35 percent.
What is the cause behind this increase in employee lawsuits? “It could be a number of things,” indicated Coffey, “including a broader definition of what constitutes a “protected class”, a rough economy still in recovery mode, a need to survive any way possible or the constantly changing definition of “disabled”. Whatever the motivation is, if discrimination is happening in the workplace, you need to consult a seasoned employment lawyer for assistance. These types of cases cannot be handled by workers on their own.”
THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654
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