Travel and Entertainment Provider Failed to Address EEO Complaints, Federal Agency Charges
LAS VEGAS - The Miami-based travel and entertainment company Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) has settled sexual harassment and disability lawsuits for $925,000 and injunctive relief with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to one EEOC lawsuit, EBG failed to provide accommodations to employees with disabilities and failed to engage in the interactive process required by law, often claiming that doing so would jeopardize its relationships with EBG's business partners. In a second lawsuit, the EEOC charged EBG with failing to investigate allegations of third-party harassment and not taking corrective actions to cease the harassing behavior. The EEOC further contends that EBG retaliated against employees who requested accommodations, were associated with someone with a disability or who complained about harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (U.S. EEOC v. Entertainment Benefits Group, Case No: 2:19-cv-01134-GMN-VCF and 2:19-cv-01135-RFB-EJY) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation agreement through its conciliation process. After conciliation, the parties reached an early settlement leading to the simultaneous filing of the complaints and consent decree settling the suit.
Pursuant to the decree, EBG will provide $925,000 in monetary relief to the victims. In conjunction with the monetary relief, EBG will develop a centralized tracking system for employee requests for disability accommodations; create a procedure for the handling and investigation of employees' harassment complaints; and provide effective ADA and Title VII training for human resources, management and other personnel. The court will maintain jurisdiction of the case for the decree's four-year term.
"Customer or partner preference is not a justification for non-compliance with the ADA or Title VII," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Las Vegas in its jurisdiction. "We commend EBG for resolving this complaint and for putting in place measures to prevent discrimination within its workforce."
Patricia Kane, acting local director of the EEOC's Las Vegas local office, added, "Employers should take every opportunity to review their practices to ensure they are complying with federal law. The EEOC is committed to creating workplaces free of discrimination and harassment. Under this decree, EBG has taken steps to change their practices and create a more inclusive work environment for all employees."
According to the company's website, www.entertainmentbenefits.com , EBG is an e-commerce company that specializes in live entertainment and travel.
Two of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) are for the EEOC to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law and to prevent harassment through systemic litigation and investigation.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.