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    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Recent EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuits

    FROM THE NRCA CAPITOL INSIDER-
    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two employment discrimination lawsuits under title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston
    . In the first lawsuit against ENGlobal Engineering, Inc., an energy engineering and professional services company, EEOC alleged the company fired an individual because it regarded him as having a disability. The employer insisted that the employee take a medical leave of absence when he began experiencing symptoms of multiple sclerosis even though he could still work. When the person returned to work with a doctor's clearance, ENGlobal falsely told him his position was no longer available. Three weeks later, the company hired someone else.

    In the second employment discrimination lawsuit, EEOC alleged that DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations Company refused to hire someone who had previously worked for the company because his wife had cancer which the company felt would interfere with his ability to do his job. The company later hired someone with no experience for the position. Discrimination based on association with a person who has a disability is prohibited under title I of the ADA. See EEOC's press release at:
    http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/8-26-10.cfm

    21 comments:

    Matilde Barrera Alaniz said...

    I believe that it is very important to always be informed of what is going on. Exposing people that are doing wrong is important so that others can open their eyes and won't permit the discrimination.
    It's such a shame that after all the laws and regulations that we have against people with disabilities, we still have problems like this.
    I work at a school district and usually when there is some sort of disagreement of not being sure if things are being done right. The school lawyer is called so that there is no doubt about creating problems on discrimination or equal opportunities.
    I hope that these companies really learn a lesson and are an example of what they are not suppose to do against people that they see not being able to do the work like others that do not have disabilities.

    Joseph Garcia said...

    These companies need to enforce the necessity of equal and employee rights. I mean, if it isn’t one company doing this it’s another. After the individual was treated and medically cleared he should have had the right to continue doing his job. After all, that’s why he is medically cleared. It is almost like telling a woman her position was no longer available after maternity leave. These companies should realize that companies don’t run themselves and what employees they do have need to be taken care of well.
    In local cases similar to these, I have found that the person who replaces the individual is usually a close friend or family member of a manager, administrator or even a company board member. Much like the second case, the person usually doesn’t know a thing about the tasks the position requires.

    Michael Flores said...

    It comes as no surprise to me that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) still requires the enforcement of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Let me be clear, it certainly vexes me to witness that employers are still discriminating against people with disabilities since the inception of the A.D.A. Although I am troubled by this fact, I realize that all laws ultimately require consistent enforcement. The fact is that the E.E.O.C. will always be needed to incessantly uphold the laws which make up the Americans with Disabilities Act. The laws which make up to the ADA are similar to the Civil Rights Act of the 60s. The themes are equality, justice and fairness. As history has demonstrated, the federal government had to intervene to enforce the Civil Rights Act during the 1960’s. This is one of many examples that prove laws cannot serve their purpose without effective enforcement. The battle against discrimination is never ending but discrimination sometimes lies dormant in the minds of people without disabilities. However, people without disabilities are reminded from time to time with the advent of media coverage that follows discrimination lawsuits.

    Michael Flores said...

    I wonder how those who associate with persons with disabilities could be discriminated against. On what grounds would an employer do such a thing? If such a thing did happen, how could the prosecution prove their case? I can image it must be very difficult.

    Cynthia Serratta said...

    In response to the first lawsuit against ENGlobal Engineering, Inc., I have many questions that come to mind. First of all, how many years did the individual work for the company? Secondly, how long was his medical leave? Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) an eligible employee can earn up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period for “birth and care of the eligible employee's child, or the placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee, care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition; or care of the employee's own serious health condition” (www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-fmla.htm). Personally, I have come across several instances in which the employee, even during prenatal care leave and maternity leave, has been told that their job is not guaranteed upon returning to work. If the 12 weeks of FMLA are exhausted within a 1- year time frame or the individual has not been employed for one year, the employee’s job is not guaranteed and protected. Despite how long this individual worked at the company and how long his medical leave was, he had a medical clearance to return to work. This individual was also insisted to leave his job upon experiencing his symptoms despite the fact he could fulfill his job duties. It seems as though ENGlobal was in a sense pushing him out the door. For cases such as these two discrimination lawsuits, it is why we still need the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Americans With Disabilities Act.

    Sergio Cuevas said...

    Upon the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, there have since been many individuals with disabilities advocating for their rights. In conjunction to this, other representing organizations, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have supported these rights to truly advocates for those individuals who should not be discriminated in the workforce. In the double lawsuits presented, it is interesting to know how both companies being sued, ENGlobal Engineering, Inc., and DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations Company, are big corporation companies. Based on what we know as rehabilitation counselors, consumers, or individuals with disabilities, big corporation companies have the highest employment opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWD) since they can cover medical expenses, provide accommodations, and work with job modifications. Employment openings happen more often there than in small businesses. While this is true and good news for PWD, the fact is that just these big corporations hire, they can also be at a higher risk of committing a discrimination against PWD. The two lawsuits presented are perfect examples of the risks these big corporations run. ENGlobal Engineering, Inc. discriminated against symptoms of multiple sclerosis and avoided dealing with possible job accommodations, job modifications, or even medical expenses based on the person’s disability. This shows lack of professionalism to keep track of employees’ needs by not providing medical leave and a secured position to return to work after rehabilitation. The second corporation, DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations Company, performed a greater discrimination based on the act of replacing the employee who did not have a disability, but whose family needed specific care and attention. The act of dismissing that employee without truly finding a motive is beyond the discrimination acts. What needs to be done now is follow through with the lawsuits, fine the corporations, assure job replacements or pay for the employees dismissed, and correct the hiring/firing process against PWD or any employee to avoid future lawsuits. I am content to know that action was taken, published, and shared with the public. It is actions like these that highlights the purpose of the ADA.

    Joseph Garcia said...

    These companies just need to enforce the necessity of equal and employee rights. I mean, if it isn’t one company doing this it’s another. After the individual was treated and medically cleared by physicians he should have had the right to continue doing his job. After all, that’s why he was medically cleared. It is almost like telling a woman her position was no longer available after maternity leave. It is unfortunate to know that many, if not all, people with disabilities fear job loss when stories like this are exposed. The company administrators or executives should realize that companies don’t run themselves and what employees they do have need to be taken care of well.
    In local cases similar to the second one, I have found that the person who replaces the individual is usually a close friend or family member of a manager, administrator or even a company board member. Much like the second case, the person usually doesn’t know a thing about the tasks the position requires.

    maria barrera said...

    It is disturbing to think that after all these laws and the ADA, we still live in a society that does not follow rules very well. Unfortunately under these circumstances justice is not served immediately and it can be a long process. The companies will probably find every glitch to continue to cut corners, if action is not enforced against them. These are events that happen most of the time and I am glad that they are being exposed to the public, so that we can become knowledgeable. The reality is that some of these companies are motivated by revenue and could care less of who they are discriminating against. Hopefully these situations will only help to provide better advocacy for people at different job settings who might encounter similar problems. In these type of situations, not only does the individual involved get affected so does his family because they depend on them for financial support.

    Danielle said...

    I want to start by saying that the behavior of these companies is appalling! I find myself in a state of disbelief when I hear of discrimination like this. I can say that I am very happy to hear that these companies are facing law suits for their offensive actions.
    I am very close to someone who is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and I am happy to report that this person is a very successful, active, and working individual. For a company to terminate employment because a person is starting to show signs of MS is absolutely wrong. It is especially wrong when the person presents a letter of medical clearance from their physician. If a person is medically cleared for work, then that person is okay to work. It is not an engineering companies place to determine how a person is functioning medically.
    As for the employee who's wife has cancer, the petroleum company has no grounds to terminate. The employee probably needs his job now more than ever, and now he and his wife have nothing. Again, I do not believe that it is the company's position to determine whether or not an employee's work will be affected. Now, if said employee's work is affected, then I believe that person should come up for review. But assuming that it will is absurd.
    It is a shame that the EEOC needs to step in in such cases, but I am relieved that they are. I wish nothing but justice for the employees involved in these cases.

    danielle fox said...

    I want to start by saying that the behavior of these companies is appalling! I find myself in a state of disbelief when I hear of discrimination like this. I can say that I am very happy to hear that these companies are facing law suits for their offensive actions.
    I am very close to someone who is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and I am happy to report that this person is a very successful, active, and working individual. For a company to terminate employment because a person is starting to show signs of MS is absolutely wrong. It is especially wrong when the person presents a letter of medical clearance from their physician. If a person is medically cleared for work, then that person is okay to work. It is not an engineering companies place to determine how a person is functioning medically.
    As for the employee who's wife has cancer, the petroleum company has no grounds to terminate. The employee probably needs his job now more than ever, and now he and his wife have nothing. Again, I do not believe that it is the company's position to determine whether or not an employee's work will be affected. Now, if said employee's work is affected, then I believe that person should come up for review. But assuming that it will is absurd.
    It is a shame that the EEOC needs to step in in such cases, but I am relieved that they are. I wish nothing but justice for the employees involved in these cases.

    Alma Estrada said...

    It is unfortunate that these companies attempt to do this to people with disabilities. We see or hear about these situations on rare occasions. There might be times that we do not hear them at all because they go unreported. Regarding the first discrimination lawsuit, that employee should have had the right to return to work. Especially since the employee had a more than justifiable reason, a medical clearance. On the second lawsuit not only was it wrong, but the company was judging whether or not the man was able to perform the job duties since his wife had cancer. As we all should know the Americans with Disabilities Act has been passed since 1990. I can’t believe that companies still would even try to risk going through a situation where they would put the company at risk of a lawsuit. It’s good to be informed with all types of information on cases, so other people who have experience the same can speak out. This shows how much we need the advocacy for the people with disabilities. If they can not stand up for themselves there is always someone who will!

    Anonymous said...

    Two Texas Energy Corporations Sued by the EEOC for Disability Discrimination this year are examples why is important to have laws and regulations that help workers to keep their jobs after they struggle with important issues in their personal health or life. Employers, new and old, need to know their rights because it is important to know how to be hired and safeguard their jobs.

    Arrive to 60 years-old means not to be disposable, in those years the worker achieved all needed experience to perform properly their jobs and upgrade skills for future upcoming activities with the expertise gain by their professional as well as personal life. Youth workers means not be incompetent, young persons have all the conditions to be trained properly and expeditious with a basic knowledge of the new technologies. Men, women of all ages need to know their rights and both need work to fulfill their needs. We all need know that there are rules and regulations that help and protect us against discrimination. Employers with disabilities are also included under the same regulations and rights of EEOC have.

    Discrimination against employers needs to be prevented with information and education before and after a worker has been hired. Like EEOC said they need to be proactive with education and technical assistance programs in all type of companies and level of education of the employers. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps companies to build the knowledge about discrimination actions with meetings or activities every year. “The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law.” We also work to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education and technical assistance programs”. We do not, however, file lawsuits in all cases where we find discrimination”.

    Alma Niccum

    Alma Niccum said...

    Two Texas Energy Corporations Sued by the EEOC for Disability Discrimination this year are examples why is important to have laws and regulations that help workers to keep their jobs after they struggle with important issues in their personal health or life. Employers, new and old, need to know their rights because it is important to know how to be hired and safeguard their jobs.

    Arrive to 60 years-old means not to be disposable, in those years the worker achieved all needed experience to perform properly their jobs and upgrade skills for future upcoming activities with the expertise gain by their professional as well as personal life. Youth workers means not be incompetent, young persons have all the conditions to be trained properly and expeditious with a basic knowledge of the new technologies. Men, women of all ages need to know their rights and both need work to fulfill their needs. We all need know that there are rules and regulations that help and protect us against discrimination. Employers with disabilities are also included under the same regulations and rights of EEOC have.

    Discrimination against employers needs to be prevented with information and education before and after a worker has been hired. Like EEOC said they need to be proactive with education and technical assistance programs in all type of companies and level of education of the employers. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps companies to build the knowledge about discrimination actions with meetings or activities every year. “The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law.” We also work to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education and technical assistance programs”. We do not, however, file lawsuits in all cases where we find discrimination”.

    Alma Niccum

    Heather Bocanegra said...

    It is really sad to know that eventhough there has been so much legislation passed towards helping individuals with disabilities in living good, healthy and FAIR lives like everyone else,these big multi-billion corporate businesses/companies who just think about profits or whats "in it" for them find it rather simple to get away with denying this certain population with their rights to equal employment and equals opportunities! However, even though I am more than sure this very same situation and simliar discrimination practices happen daily and more often than we see here at disability intel and on the media, I commend those few who make the choice to stand up for themselves, get legal advice and fight for their own rights to do away with just 1 more corporate or company who thinks they can do as they please and treat those with disabilities, people related to others with disabilities and those with recent diagnosis of disabilities/illnesses unfairly. I am glad to see that justice is being done, but more than anything I believe that the more rehab counseling professionals and individuals with disabilities advocates there are the more we can fight off these types of discriminations or discrimination in general period in the future.

    Eblancojr said...

    It's moments like this which make me ashamed to be a native Texan. I understand we can't expect this state to be as progressive as the others in the country, but this is inexcusable. We are all familiar with the various options employers can initiate to keep medical/physical disabilities employed. Job restructuring comes to mind. But there may an alterior motive, which could be to save money on health expenses by the companies' health care plan. After my mother was diagnosed with cancer, her employee health insurance pracially saved her life. She remains employed to this day. It seems as though this may now be the exception with companies only focused on the bottom line.

    Alinka Del Castillo said...

    These two lawsuites are clear examples that the law can be applied when companies disregard the rights of people with disabilities or their families. I think it is very unfortunate that individuals have to resort to a lawsuit to have their needs and cases heard.
    I did not know that someone can lawsuit a company under the category of "discrimination by association with a person with a disability". After reading the first lawsuit case I felt very upset to think how the companys are always evading the proper procedures in working and respecting the rights of people with disabilities. Many companies do the same by closing the job posistion and then reopening it for other applicants, in such a way that they keep the person with disability out.
    In the second case I think companies and hiring managers have an arrogant attitude to think that just becuase someone has a family member with a disability or with a medical condition they can decide weather or not they can do a good job. If that was the case then nobody who has a family with a disability could work. I think this is a ridiculous rationale.

    Anna said...

    One would think that in our modern day, with all the laws and regulations in place to protect people with disabilities, there would be rare instances of discrimination, however it happens everyday. I think that maybe the reason that it happens frequently is lack of education and plain ignorance on the part of some agencies, supervisors and even co-workers. It is important to always know polices, laws and procedures when it comes to things like that. Especially if you are one to go into the rehabilitation field of work, it is important to know one's rights.

    Eleazar Nino said...

    Even though it take time to investigate such violations, it is good to know that laws are still being enforced. What is unfortunate is employers who still don't get it. How is it that with a law such as ADA such violations still occur? Sadly, occurrences such as these will undoubtedly continue, much to the dismay of PWD advocates, as well as the many PWD who are currently employed, or those actively looking. Hopefully egregious acts such as these will not discourage PWD from pursuing success.

    Roel Longoria said...

    There will always be those who try to cut corners only to protect themselves but unfortunate for them we have ADA and EEOC, among others, that will protect the inidivual. Discriminations happens on a daily basis, that sounds terrible but it's the honest truth, and we must fight and advocate to make our voices heard. These companies now find themselves in matters they perhaps would rather not be in. As with all other things there are benefits and downfalls. We can only hope that PWD are not discouraged by such news and instead strive to better themselves as they are not alone in the fight.

    Mel said...

    These lawsuits should not be happening at this time! ADA laws were passed years ago and discrimination continues to happen. Once again I'm glad that a person with a disability speaks up and is not afraid to sue their former employer. With these lawsuits going on the employers will hopely realize that they cannot discriminate without being a punishment.
    Melchora Gracia

    Villarreal said...

    Shameful but true still happening after all the written law forbids to discriminate people with disabilities. Unfortunately, we do not have the ADA law enforcement but we (people) can denounce discrimination towards people with disabilities to prevent the awful discrimination based on disability.