Kintetsu International Express, a leading travel agency, has agreed to pay $77,500 to settle an EEOC disability discrimination and hostile work environment lawsuit.
The EEOC had claimed that an employee at Kintetsu’s Maui, Hawaii office was subjected to a hostile work environment and harassment retaliation because of her disability, malignant rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, the EEOC alleged that Kintetsu subjected one of the employee’s coworkers to unlawful retaliation for reporting the harassment and discrimination.
According to the complaint, a Kintetsu supervisor continually demeaned, ridiculed, and harassed Yuko Lesher because she walked with difficulty due to her disability. When Lesher’s condition required surgery, the EEOC alleged that her boss refused to schedule her back to work following her recovery until the company’s HR department intervened.
Lesher, along with a co-worker and witness to the harassment, Nozomi Hoshi, allegedly reported the harassment and discrimination to the vice president of Kintetsu. The EEOC claimed that no corrective action was taken by the company.
Instead, both Lesher and Hoshi received less favorable work performance evaluations despite previous high marks. The EEOC also said that Lesher was further harassed and eventually forced to resign in retaliation for her reporting the disability harassment and discrimination by Kintetsu’s management.
When the supervisor learned of Hoshi’s complaint to the vice president, the supervisor made Hoshi write an apology letter under threat of termination. Finally, the EEOC said, Hoshi was also forced to resign in retaliation for her reporting activities.