State and federal civil rights laws prohibit employment discrimination and discrimination in places of public accommodation for reasons of race, color, national origin/ancestry, sex/gender, religion/creed and disability (physical and mental). For such reasons, businesses have a responsibility to treat all customers equally under the law and are better served when they do so.
For instance, it was in a Nail Salon that a discrimination or miscommunication became a dispute which almost could have become a lawsuit had an apology not been issued. A person with disability who uses a wheelchair felt as though she had been discriminated against. The Vietnamese-Americans who worked at the Nail Lounge say a language barrier contributed to the dispute.
When the disparate treatment was felt, the customer immediately proceeded to make a Facebook post indicating that a salon refused to provide a full pedicure service because she was in a wheelchair. The customer told staff she would seek business elsewhere and voiced her opinion sensing that it was her wheelchair presence that was the problem and they did not want to deal with it. The salon technician asserted that accommodation for wheelchairs had been made in the past and the Business was an ‘open space’ for such reasons. The service was not intended to disrespect but arose out of a lack of proper communication. Not having perfect English was part of the reason and is said to have contributed to the incident. No ill intention was in place, as such. Nonetheless, the lady in the wheelchair said she was ignored by the technician and brought along a friend to help with lifting her out of her wheelchair. The technician instead asked if the pedicure could be given while she sat in her wheelchair. In doing so, the business wanted to avoid any potential liability that could result from moving from her wheelchair into a pedicure chair and make the situation comfortable. See this article. Better use of tact could have avoided this situation and not every business is perfect or prepared. Raising awareness such as this is what happened as a result,no ill was intended. Alternatively, intentions did matter in a case where a pizzeria settled a discrimination suit with EEOC for $50,000. See this article. This was following allegations of harassment and an alleged directive to speak “English Only” in the workplace. What’s more is that the EEOC cited to one occasion where a manager possibly pulled a dollar bill out of his wallet, held it out to workers and said, “This is America, you must speak English.” There were grounds lacking for a legitimate business reason in doing so. The consent decree provides for the implementation of anti-discrimination policies, training and problem resolution procedures. Such policies and practices may have prevented the alleged wrongdoing had they been implemented previously.
Thus, it can be seen that the financial effects of discrimination are beyond cash liabilities — the impact on internal workforce productivity, your ability to retain and recruit staff, and even your perception among customers can all be negatively affected by discriminatory practices. Accordingly, one must be vigilant and exercise much caution in proceeding with business dealings. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your business practices, please feel free to contact our law firm to discuss the matter further.
Our Chicago employment attorneys have defended high level executives and corporations discrimination, covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.
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DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook, Naperville, and Wheaton litigation attorneys have more than three decades of experience helping clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state non-compete and trade secret theft laws. Our Chicago business dispute attorneys also represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners, shareholders and LLC members as well as lawsuits between businesses and and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Oak Brook, near Skokie and Lake Forest, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.