Employee With Asperger's Syndrome Denied a Reasonable Accommodation and Fired While on Medical Leave

Friday, April 12, 2019

ATLANTA - Masterbuilt Manufacturing, LLC, a for-profit manufacturer of cooking products, will pay $60,000 to settle a disability  discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the  EEOC's suit, Masterbuilt denied Joshua Moore's request for an accommodation in  the form of leave for a short period to undergo treatment and counseling for  stress caused by his Asperger's syndrome. On several occasions in June and July 2017,  Moore complained to the vice president of human resources about his  supervisor's conduct, including, but not limited to, her repeated comments that  Moore was "special." Masterbuilt fired Moore while he was on leave, despite his  repeated requests to return to work and being cleared by medical professionals  to return to work. 

--- HR Classroom ADA Reasonable Accommodation Training Tips: Online ADA Training (Americans with Disabilities Act) that instructs an employee how to report problems at work, and assures them they will not be retaliated against for making a report, will often lessen the consequences of bad actors. Discipline and Termination Training, and Online Diversity Training of supervisors and employees may have prevented this costly case with the EEOC, and protected the employees involved. --- 

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities  Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on  an individual's disability. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission v. Masterbuilt Manufacturing, LLC, Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-00052-CDL)  in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Columbus Division, after  first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.

In addition to the monetary relief, Masterbuilt agreed to provide  employment discrimination training to its employees and to post  anti-discrimination notices at its facility. In addition, the decree subjects Masterbuilt  to reporting and monitoring requirements.

"When  an employer knows its employee has a disability and needs to be absent from  work because of it, the employer should seek to accommodate him, not punish him,"  said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office.  "The EEOC is pleased that Masterbuilt agreed to resolve this case and to  further train its employees on its obligations under the ADA. The discrimination  victim in this case has been compensated and the employer will be better  equipped to respond the next time an applicant or employee seeks leave as an  accommodation for a disability."

Darrell  Graham, acting district director of the Atlanta office, added, "The EEOC is  committed to ending disability discrimination in Georgia and across the  country. An employee should not be forced to risk termination for seeking a  perfectly reasonable accommodation under federal law."

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