Posts Tagged ‘disability’

Staffing Agency Sued Under ADA By EEOC

This employer didn’t go far enough to accommodate an employee with reading comprehension difficulty, according to federal civil rights law enforcers.

Adecco USA, Inc. (Adecco), a staffing agency, violated federal law by refusing to offer a candidate employment at a production facility based on his actual and perceived disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on August 29.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in April 2016, a worker with learning and other mental disabilities visited Adecco’s office in Corry, Pennsylvania, to apply for a food packaging and distribution position with an Adecco customer. The lawsuit further states that when the worker was told he would have to take an employment test, he informed Adecco officials of his difficulty with reading comprehension. The applicant requested that the test be read to him for purposes of test administration, which Adecco initially declined, causing him to fail the test. The lawsuit alleges that Adecco subsequently agreed to retest the disabled worker by reading the test to him and he passed. EEOC charges that an Adecco official then told the disabled worker that he was “too slow” for the production job and instead offered to place the worker in a car-washing job while other applicants were offered the job that the disabled worker sought. EEOC charges that Adecco violated the disabled worker’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to hire him for the type of work he desired because of actual and perceived disability.

Such alleged conduct violates the ADA, which prohibits discrimination based on actual and perceived disabilities. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Adecco USA, Inc., Civil Action No.1:18-cv-00250-AJS) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Erie Division, after first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Individuals with disabilities continue to face needless, discriminatory obstacles to full participation in the American workplace,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The ADA requires that employers and staffing agencies refrain from excluding individuals with disabilities from job opportunities on the basis of their disabilities, whether such exclusions are based on bigotry, stereotypes, myths and unwarranted fears, or unintended barriers to employment of disabled workers.”

Pittsburgh Area Office Director Roosevelt Bryant said, “Securing the right of persons with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of society is the ADA’s highest purpose. The EEOC is committed to vindicating the right of all individuals with disabilities to participate in the workforce on an equal footing with their nondisabled peers in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”

The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC’s Pittsburgh Area Office, one of four component offices of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office. The Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

Autistic Employee Left With No Choice But to Quit, EEOC Alleges in Title VII, ADA Lawsuit

No one should have to endure what an employee with autism was allegedly subjected to at a North Carolina restaurant.

Jax, LLC, which operates a Golden Corral restaurant in Matthews, N.C., discriminated against an employee with a disability when it subjected him to a hostile work environment based on both his disability and his sex (male), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed Sept. 8. The lawsuit also alleges that the employee resigned because of the harassment.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Sean Fernandez worked as a dishwasher at the Matthews Golden Corral. Fernandez has high-functioning autism, which limits his ability to communicate and interact with others. From around March or April 2014 until January 2016, a male assistant manager created a hostile work environment by repeatedly referring to Fernandez as a “retard,” calling him “stupid,” using profanity, requesting oral sex, threatening to sexually assault him, and subjecting him to unwanted physical contact. Fernandez filed a complaint and requested to be moved to a different shift, so that he would not have to work with the male assistant manager. Fernandez resigned due to the harassment after he was again assigned to work with the same male assistant manager who again sexually harassed him.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (EEOC v. Jax, LLC d/b/a Golden Corral, Civil Action No. 3:17-cv-00535-RJC-DCK) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

“All employees, men and women alike, are entitled to a workplace free from sexual harassment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Likewise, all employees have the right to work without being harassed due to their disabilities. It is particularly alarming when harassment is perpetrated by a supervisor.”

EEOC: Temporary Agency Violated ADA By Turning Down Recovering Drug Addict

A just-filed lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a cautionary tale for employers in how to deal with job applicants recovering from drug addiction.

In this suit under the Americans With Disabilities Act, the EEOC is claiming that a Baltimore-based temporary staffing agency, Randstad, US, LP illegally refused to refer an applicant for a vacant laborer job with one of its clients because she was in a medically supervised methadone treatment program.

The applicant, a woman named April Cox, has not used illegal drugs since enrolling in the program in 2011, the EEOC said.

When Cox applied for the vacancy, Randstad’s site manager told Cox she had enough experience to advance to the next part of the hiring process and requested that Cox provide a urine sample for a pre-employment drug.

However, EEOC charges, when Cox disclosed that she was in a medically supervised methadone treatment program, the site manager took back the cup for the urine test and said, “I’m sure we don’t hire people on methadone, but I will contact my supervisor.”  Even though Cox repeatedly called back and informed the site manager that she did not have any medical restrictions from performing the laborer job, Randstad told Cox it would not hire her because she used methadone, EEOC says.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

In Latest ADA Suit, EEOC Accuses Employer of Firing Employee Because of Cancer Treatments

As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, another employer finds itself in the legal crosshairs due to its alleged cavalier treatment of an employee diagnosed with cancer.

IDEX Corporation, a manufacturer and supplier of fluidics systems with locations nationwide, including multiple posts in Florida, now is in the legal hotseat, accused by the EEOC of firing a regional manager because he had cancer.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit filed July 22r, Gregorio Reyes successfully performed his regional manager position at IDEX Corporation, including during the six months in 2011 when he underwent chemotherapy to treat the cancer with which he was diagnosed the year before. During the period of his treatment, however, Reyes’s supervisors repeatedly asked invasive questions about his illness and questioned his ability to perform job tasks. On Dec. 8, 2011, IDEX fired Reyes because of his disability, EEOC says.

“A longtime employee who continues to successfully perform his or her job responsibilities should not be fired because he has been diagnosed with a medical condition such as cancer. The ADA prohibits such conduct, and EEOC takes seriously its responsibility to enforce the law,” said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for EEOC’s Miami Office.

Read more about the lawsuit.

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.

Foodservices Supply Company Sued by EEOC for Rejecting Applicant Because of Disability

Another company is in the EEOC’s legal crosshairs for allegedly rejecting a job applicant because of a perceived disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

This time it is McLane Foodservice Inc., a large-scale supplier to fastfood restaurants.  The EEOC is charging the company with an ADA violation for refusing to hire an applicant because it regarded him as disabled and because he had a disability.

The EEOC’s announcement of the filing of the lawsuit doesn’t say what the job was or get into any of the particulars of how this situation came about.

But it’s more proof–if any is needed at this point–that the EEOC takes any suspected violations of the ADA very seriously and will vigorously pursue remedies against any company that it has reason to believe has violated the law.

Read more about the lawsuit.

EEOC: Employee Violated ADA in Treatment of Employee With Congenital Abnormality

The EEOC has taken a Southern health care organization to court over its treatment of an employee who suffered a congenital abnormality, charging it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act in the way it handled her situation.

The lawsuit recounted that the employee, Cecelia Whitten, has congenital orthopedic abnormalities that, since birth, have caused her to have difficulty standing for long periods, walking long distances and keeping her balance. Whitten began working for McLeod Health in 1984 as a communications specialist. In 2012, McLeod required Whitten to submit to two medical examinations as a result of symptoms related to her disability. Whitten was placed on leave pending the completion of the medical examinations. As a result of one of the medical examinations, McLeod’s Occupational Health Department recommended certain job accommodations for Whitten. Around Aug. 13, 2012, McLeod informed Whitten that she could not return to work in her position as a communications specialist because McLeod could not provide her with certain job accommodations. The EEOC said that despite the fact that Whitten could perform her job duties, McLeod did not allow her to return to work but rather fired her on Feb. 12, 2013 when she exhausted her Family and Medical Leave Act leave.

The EEOC said that this conduct violates the ADA because it was based on assumptions about Whitten’s disability. “In this case, Ms. Whitten had been performing her job for almost 30 years, when she was fired because of assumptions associated with her disability. The EEOC is here to fight for the rights of people like Cecelia Whitten.”

Read more.