Friday, May 10, 2013

Record-Breaking EEOC Verdict - COTW #142

Last week, the EEOC issued a press release: Jury Awards $240 Million for Long-Term Abuse of Workers with Intellectual Disabilities. Apparently, that's the biggest verdict in the agency's history.

I wish I could tell you there were some great "lessons learned" from this case, but let's look at what led to that huge dollar figure:
Specifically, the EEOC presented evidence that for years and years the owners and staffers of Henry's Turkey subjected the workers to abusive verbal and physical harassment; restricted their freedom of movement; and imposed other harsh terms and conditions of employment such as requiring them to live in deplorable and sub-standard living conditions, and failing to provide adequate medical care when needed.
Verbal abuses included frequently referring to the workers as "retarded," "dumb ass" and "stupid." Class members reported acts of physical abuse including hitting, kicking, at least one case of handcuffing, and forcing the disabled workers to carry heavy weights as punishment. The Henry's Turkey supervisors, also the workers' purported caretakers, were often dismissive of complaints of injuries or pain.
I mean, seriously, what's the lesson here? Do you really need to be told not to kick employees with intellectual disabilities and call them "retarded"?

I guess the lesson is that if you're the deplorable type of person who engages in such behavior (or their employer), know that there are repercussions for your actions.