$77,000 Settlement in Disability Discrimination Suit, Training Ordered

Friday, June 24, 2011

Question:  Would discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

An Ellicott City, Md., surveying company will pay $77,000 and furnish other remedial relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to EEOC’s suit, Fisher, Collins & Carter, Inc. engaged in unlawful disability discrimination when it fired Robert Gray and Wayne Seifert shortly after it discovered, through a questionnaire on employees’ health conditions, medical issues and medications, that they both had both diabetes and hypertension.  Gray had worked for the company for 15 years starting as a rodman (a surveyor’s technician) and was a party chief at his termination.  Seifert had been employed since 2000 as a rodman.  Both had demonstrated successful performance throughout their employment there.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual because of a disability, a record of a disability or perceived disability.  The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 10-cv-02453) in U.S. District Court of Maryland after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

Along with the monetary payment to both Gray and Seifert, the consent decree settling the lawsuit requires that Fisher, Collins & Carter institute and distribute a written policy to all employees on disability-based discrimination and its commitment to maintain employee medical information in accordance with the confidentiality requirements contained in the ADA.  Additionally, the firm will provide three hours of anti-discrimination training to all management and human resource personnel, post a notice affirming its commitment to all federal equal employment opportunity laws and submit reports on disability-based discrimination to the EEOC for the agreement’s three-year duration. 

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