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Employment Law News As part of our commitment to assist and educate employers in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law news for employees.

EEOC Claims Employer Unlawfully Fired Employee Instead Of Accommodating His Disability

disabled employee working in workplace

Having fought for the rights of employees for nearly twenty years, our Marion County, Florida wrongful termination lawyers have learned that employers often fire employees with a disability instead of providing them with a reasonable accommodation that would enable them to continue working.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers unlawfully discriminate against employees by failing to provide them with a reasonable accommodation for their disability.  The purpose of a reasonable accommodation is to enable employees with a disability to perform the essential functions of their job and continue working for the employer.  As explained by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in EEOC v. Dolgencorp, LLC, No. 17-6278 (6th Cir. Aug. 7, 2018), “failing to provide a protected employee with a reasonable accommodation constitutes direct evidence of discrimination.”  Thus, the ADA establishes a cause of action for employees with a disability when their employers fail to reasonably accommodate their disability.

Employers Must Accommodate Disabled Employees

Once an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, employers have an obligation to explore how the employee’s physical limitations affect the employee’s work and determine what types of accommodations can be made that will enable the employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job and continue working.  Accommodations can include, among other things, job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, and acquisition or modification of equipment or devices.  When an employer refuses to provide an employee with a reasonable accommodation to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job and continue working, and the refusal leads to a discharge, the employee was fired because of the disability in violation of the ADA.  In other words, when an employer refuses to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability and the refusal leads to a discharge, the employer fired the employee in lieu of providing an accommodation for the employee’s disability.

These principles are illustrated in a disability discrimination lawsuit recently filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  In a press release issued on July 22, 2019, the EEOC announced that it has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against KTF Enterprises, Inc. and Kirker Enterprises, Inc. (collectively, the Defendants).  On July 17, 2019, the EEOC filed the disability discrimination lawsuit, EEOC v. KTF Enterprises, Inc. and Kirker Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-6611, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process.  The EEOC has brought the disability discrimination lawsuit pursuant to the ADA on behalf of a former employee of the Defendants, Javier Amigon (Amigon).  In this article, our Marion County, Florida wrongful termination attorneys explain the EEOC’s allegations against the two companies.

EEOC’S Allegations Of Disability Discrimination

The Defendants operate a factory in New York that bottles nail polish.  Amigon worked as a topper at the factory.  In this position, Amigon spent the majority of his time placing caps on the nail polish bottles on the factory line.  Amigon’s left leg is amputated just below the knee and his right foot is partially amputated.  Because of his disability within the meaning of the ADA, Amigon requested that he be permitted to sit on a stool while performing his work.  With this accommodation, Amigon would have been able to perform the essential functions of his job.  The Defendants denied Amigon’s request.  After his request for a stool was denied, the Defendants involuntarily placed Amigon on leave and then fired him.  The EEOC claims that the Defendants violated the ADA by firing Amigon in lieu of providing him with a reasonable accommodation that would have enabled him to perform the essential functions of his job and continue working for the Defendants.

EEOC Enforces Civil Rights Laws

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  In enforcing the federal anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of employment discrimination, including disability discrimination.  In a press release issued by the EEOC regarding the case, a Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, Jeffrey Burstein, stated that “[t]erminating an employee because that employee needs a reasonable accommodation for a disability is a form of discrimination under the law.”

Free Consultation With Ocala Wrongful Discharge Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we have represented employment discrimination victims in hundreds of cases before the EEOC.  If you have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability or have questions about your rights under the ADA, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Marion County, Florida wrongful termination attorneys.  Our employment and labor law attorneys take wrongful termination cases on a contingency fee basis.  This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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