Texas workers got $28.9 million in compensation for workplace sexual harassment, religious intolerance, and age and race discrimination in fiscal 2009 — about $2.7 million more than the previous year.
In Texas, sexual discrimination was the most common reason for complaints, followed by race, age and disability grievances, according to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data. The number of complaints dipped minimally in 2009 from the previous year.
"I would say basically discrimination is alive and well in the workplace — all forms of discrimination," said Shezad Malik, a Southlake attorney whose private practice handles cases not pursued by the EEOC. "I don't think we've gone beyond that."
Overall, for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 8,753 Texas workers alleged discrimination based on their gender, disability, national origin, race, religion and other reasons, according to agency statistics. In the previous year, 23 more people, or 8,776, filed complaints with the EEOC.
Some Texas companies chose to settle rather than go to trial. For instance, a group of related Dallas telemarketing companies paid $37,000 last month to settle a sexual harassment suit in which two managers were accused of commenting on female employees' breasts and asking them about their sex lives. One of the women was forced to quit.
Among cases still pending is one against a Fort Worth CD and DVD manufacturer, Cinram Wireless. In September, the agency sued Cinram for failing to accommodate a woman's schedule so she could observe her Sabbath. The company, which has about 1,200 workers and as many as 1,000 temporary workers, fired her, according to a government news release. In court documents, the company has denied the allegations. Cinram's attorney, David Barron of Houston, said Cinram's policy is not to comment on pending litigation.
Nationwide, discrimination complaints stayed near all-time highs last year.
To read the complete article, visit www.star-telegram.com.