EEOC: Employee Was Fired for Seizure Disorder

Had this employer just talked to an employee about a possible accommodation for his seizure disorder, maybe this lawsuit could have been avoided.

Pittsburgh-based global paint supply company PPG Industries, Inc. violated federal law by terminating an employee with a disability after he suffered seizures which led to medical restrictions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it filed on July 14.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee worked in the Ferndale, Mich., plant of the Revocoat company. The employee was placed on a six-month medical restriction prohibiting him from driving and operating heavy machinery because of his having suffered seizures. After that, the company put him on a medical leave of absence. While out on his medical leave, PPG Industries purchased Revocoat. The employee communicated with PPG’s human resources director and provided him with updated medical information. However, the HR director refused to provide any accommodations, and fired the employee. Thereafter, the Ferndale plant was closed.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. PPG Industries, Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-12304). The EEOC is seeking monetary relief for the employee and an injunction prohibiting PPG from engaging in this type of conduct in the future.

“Federal law prohibits employers from denying workers with disabilities a reasonable accommodation,” explained EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. “In this case, PPG could have considered a temporary change in duties or a six-month medical leave to coincide with this man’s medical restrictions. When employers flatly refuse to even explore such measures, the EEOC will step in to make things right.”

According to its website (www.ppg.com), PPG Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PPG) is a global paint supplier. It is a Fortune 200 company that has locations throughout the United States and abroad.

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