Manufacturer on Hook for $62K in Settlement of ADA Lawsuit Over Exercise of Bumping Rights

A senior employee’s right to bump a junior employee to avoid losing his or her job during a layoff is a much-coveted provision of many collective bargaining agreements. So when an employer allegedly refuses to allow bumping for discriminatory reasons, it’s sure to get the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The commission announced last Thursday, July 23, that  Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation, a roofing materials manufacturer headquartered in Wayne, N.J., will pay $62,500 to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit arising from its alleged refusal to allow a senior employee to exercise bumping rights–because he had a disability or record of disability.

According to the lawsuit, the employer’s contract with the United Steelworkers Union included a provision that allowed senior employees to remain employed by “bumping” less senior employees in any layoff situation. Bumping refers to a senior employee removing a less senior employee from a position and assuming the position for himself.  However, Irvin Carter, who had lost his right hand in an accident at the facility nine years earlier, was denied the right to bump junior employees when the company performed a reduction in force in 2012.

According to the EEOC, the reason was Carter’s disability and/or his record of disability. The lawsuit alleges that GAF refused to permit Carter to bump into other positions based on an 11-pound lifting restriction contained in his nine-year-old medical evaluation. The EEOC said that at the time of the layoff, Carter’s lifting restriction had been increased to 90 pounds, and he would have been able to perform the jobs which only had a 50-pound lifting requirement.

Read more about the lawsuit and settlement here.

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