$150,000 Settlement in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against Coal Mining Company, Training Ordered

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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

Luminant Mining Company LLC, a Dallas,  Texas coal mining company, will pay $150,000 to a former equipment operator to  settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that  the coal mine fired equipment operator James Tarver nine days after receiving  information from a doctor indicating that he was disabled, and recommending an  accommodation that the company could have easily granted. Tarver was born with  a clubfoot (congenital talipes equinovarus) and wears a foot brace. He  requested that he not be required to stand on concrete more than one hour per day, as an accommodation to his disability. Tarver was hired to operate heavy  equipment. After initially working in that capacity, Tarver's supervisor  started making Tarver perform manual labor in the coal barn. This required  standing on concrete all day long sweeping coal dust and washing the concrete  floor.

Discriminating against an individual because of his or her  disability violates The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Luminant Mining Co. LLC., Civil Action No. W-12-CV-314) in  U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, after  first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

The consent decree settling the suit was signed by U.S.  District Court Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. on May 30, 2013. In it, Luminant  Mining Company agreed to pay $150,000 to James Tarver and will train all  employees on the requirements and prohibitions of the ADA. The company will  also develop policies to provide for reasonable accommodation and  to prohibit discrimination and retaliation.

Addressing  emerging and developing issues under the ADA (including issues such as reasonable accommodation, undue hardship and direct threat), is one of the six  national priorities identified by the Commission in the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement  Plan.

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