EEOC Sued Disability Network for Disability Discrimination

Disability Network Formed to Help Disabled People Actually Violated Federal Law

Disability Network promotes their organization in Detroit as being dedicated to maximizing the ability of disabled people to live as independently as they choose. In May 2014, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for a fired employee. EEOC is seeking to recover monetary compensation for the fired employee, including punitive damages and compensatory damages for emotional distress.

The irony in this case is incredible. Disability Network denied a deaf employee reasonable accommodation, Text Telephone equipment and then fired him. According to the Disability Network’s website, the Network provides a nurturing and supportive environment and says they strongly believe all people are created equal. However, the lawsuit alleges wrongful termination and violation of the organization’s mandate. 

EEOC says the Disability Network is betraying an employee. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disability Act. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after they attempted through its conciliation process to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

On April 22, 2014, the majority of a panel judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided that sufficient issues were created for a disability discrimination lawsuit against a motor company. Ford Motors denied an employee, Jane Harris, reasonable accommodation and the opportunity for telework. The employee was fired after she filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge. Ford Motor Company violated the ADA.

Ford’s telecommuting policy authorized employees to work for not more than four days a week from an approved alternative work site. Jane Harris asked Ford Motor Company to work from home for the allowed days per week as an accommodation for her IBS, a disorder that affects her colon. Harris was a steel buyer, and her job required computer and telephone contact with suppliers and co-workers.

Telework is an arrangement that allows an employee to work from home by making use of technology such as the internet and telephone. The Sixth Circuit panel majority noted that the law must respond to the advance of technology in the employment context. The panel also said they have to recognize that the workplace is anywhere that a worker can perform her job and whether presence at the Ford facilities was truly essential.

EEOC Assistant General Counsel Carolyn Wheeler said she was pleased with the ADA’s recognition that workplace realities have changed. Teleworking is an option for many people with disabilities. Disabilities can often be better managed at home.

Protected Against Unfair Dismissal

An employer must be able to demonstrate that an employee’s dismissal was justified, such as misconduct or the worker is incapable of performing the tasks. According to the EEOC guidelines, an employer should make a reasonable effort to determine the appropriate accommodation if a qualified disabled employee has requested a provision of a reasonable accommodation. Employers have the right to fire employees if the decision is not based upon discriminatory factors.

What is Disability Discrimination?

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment. The Department of Labor provides publications of the ADA, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces federal laws and regulations covering employment such as discrimination. Violation of the ADA includes a situation where an employee with a disability is treated less favorable than an individual without the disability in similar circumstances.

The ADA protects employees living with a physical disability to ensure they receive the same treatment as all other employees, yet many people with disabilities find themselves victims of employment discrimination. Employers often believe they can protect themselves by punishing employees who report workplace discrimination. Employer retaliation is against the law. If an employee is disciplined or fired as a result of complaints, such a person may file a complaint for retaliatory discharge. The United States Supreme Court said that employers could take action on reports of discrimination, and they may not fire, harass, demote or retaliate against an employee for opposing discrimination.

Everyone has the Right to Equal Opportunities

In 2013, EEOC reported more than 7,500 cases of discrimination in the Florida workplace. Most of these cases involved conflicts over race and gender. People have the right to be in a workplace with equal opportunities for all. Employment is vital to one’s subsistence. Those who are discriminated against may be able to obtain monetary reimbursement from employers by filing discrimination claims in court.

Christopher Dixon

Personal Injury Attorney at The Dixon Injury Firm
Christopher R. Dixon is the managing attorney and founder of The Dixon Injury Firm. The Dixon Injury Firm has helped injury victims recover over $35,000,000 through verdicts, settlements and judgments. Chris is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and among their Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorneys. Recognized as a Lifetime Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Chris aggressively fights for those injured through the careless, negligent and intentional conduct of others. Call today for a FREE consultation by calling 314-409-7060 or toll-free 855-402-7274.

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