The landmark LGBT discrimination decision has been a hot topic this summer. First a $100,000 Applebee’s settlement, then a court block of EEOC guidance, and now a lawsuit against a nursing home company.
Early in August, the EEOC filed a Title VII suit against Aspire Regional Partners, charging that the Ohio-based nursing home management company had fired an employee due to his sexual orientation.
In 2019, Charging Party Anthony Ayers-Banks was hired by Aspire Regional Partners as a maintenance director. According to the EEOC’s suit, Ayers-Banks was proactive and performed well in his role.
Then in April 2020, a new Regional Director began overseeing Ayers-Banks’ work. Changes were made to the maintenance director’s role which adversely affected his ability to perform his job. At the same time, employees in similar maintenance positions were treated more favorably.
After a few months, the Regional Director informed Ayers-Banks that Aspire had decided to go in a “different direction” and asked him to resign. Up until that point, the maintenance director had not received a poor evaluation or disciplinary action. Ayers-Banks refused to resign from his position.
In September 2020, Ayers-Banks was informed that he was being fired due to poor performance. According to the EEOC, the adverse action and termination was due to the employee’s sexual orientation.
After failing to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. In addition to back pay and emotional distress damages, the suit also requests that Aspire implement policies which would prevent future discrimination.
StraightforWARD Legal Advice:
Regardless of this suit’s outcome, the EEOC has shown a commitment to challenge sexual orientation discrimination following Bostock v. Clayton County. To avoid joining the Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring of Bostock, employers should familiarize themselves with EEOC guidance on sexual orientation discrimination and update their policies accordingly.