Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The 7th nominee for the “worst employer of 2019” is … the disability debaser

The 7th nominee for the Worst Employer of 2019 is an employer that (allegedly) permitted a nearly year-long campaign to malign and harass an employee living with ADHD and Tourette's syndrome.

Melinda Crooke worked as a line worker for Herbruck Poultry Ranch, a Western Michigan egg farm. As noted above, she has ADHD, which causes her to be overtly talkative and sometimes confused, and Tourette's Syndrome, which manifests in head twitches, facial tics, uncontrolled arm movements, and occasional swearing. According to the lawsuit the EEOC filed on her behalf, all of her co-workers knew of her disabilities.

Crooke claimed that as soon as her supervisor learned of her disabilities, her harassment at the hands of said supervisor and some co-workers began. They called her "Mindy Tourette's," "Gabby," "Motormouth,"and "Wandering Wanda." They mocked her Tourette's Syndrome by biting their tongues and making exaggerated hand movements. And, after she complained to HR, the mockery only worsened. For example, her supervisor sped up the production line to make it harder for her to keep up, and followed her into the bathroom during breaks to berate her for wasting time. When she complained again to HR, she claims she was told there was nothing anyone could do.

As a result, she quit her job, and went to the EEOC, which has now filed suit on her behalf. According to EEOC Trial Attorney Dale Price, "An employer cannot condone a work environment where an employee with an impairment is ridiculed because of it. It must step in to stop such behavior." Otherwise, you not only might get sued, but you just might end up as one of the nominees for the Worst Employer of 2019.