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EEOC Settles Lawsuit Claiming Disabled Employee Was Unlawfully Fired

Text sign showing hand written words wrongful dismissal

In a press release issued on June 29, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit against Powerlink Management Services, LLC (Powerlink). On July 11, 2019, the EEOC filed the disability discrimination lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Powerlink Management Services, LLC, Case No. 2:19-cv-12055, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after initially trying to address the alleged unlawful employment practices through its conciliation process. Unable to reach an acceptable conciliation agreement, the EEOC moved forward with trying to remedy the alleged unlawful employment practices through litigation. In the Consent Decree, which was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Sean F. Cox on June 26, 2020, Powerlink agreed to pay $25,000 to resolve the disability discrimination lawsuit.

The EEOC filed the disability discrimination lawsuit pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, on behalf of a former employee of Powerlink, Arica Jones (Jones). Under the ADA, job applicants and employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA also requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabled job applicants and employees. The EEOC claims that Powerlink unlawfully fired Jones because of her disability in violation of the ADA. In this article, our Marion County, Florida unlawful termination lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations of unlawful termination against Powerlink.

Employee Claims Unlawful Termination

Powerlink is a management and maintenance services company based in Detroit, Michigan. In November 2016, Jones applied to work for Powerlink as a housekeeper. According to the EEOC, Jones is deaf and thus an individual with a disability within the meaning of the ADA. On November 28, 2016, Jones was hired by Powerlink. The EEOC contends that Powerlink knew that Jones was deaf when it hired her.

Powerlink requires employees to watch training videos as part of employee orientation. During Jones’ employee orientation, Powerlink could get the closed captioning to work on its training videos. Because there was no closed captioning on the training videos, according to Powerlink, it was not able to complete Jones’ employee orientation. Consequently, Jones was not allowed to start working in December 2016. Although Powerlink did not allow Jones to start working because of the issue with the closed captioning on the training videos, Powerlink never considered accommodating Jones’ disability, such as by hiring an American Sign Language interpreter. Instead of finding a way to accommodate Jones, Powerlink fired Jones on February 15, 2017. After Jones filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC claiming that she was unlawfully terminated because of her disability, Jones started working at Powerlink without videos being closed captioned.

Legal Protection Against Unlawful Termination

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment laws prohibiting employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In endeavoring to comply with its Congressional mandate of eliminating unlawful employment discrimination, the EEOC is granted the authority under federal law to file lawsuits on behalf of job applicants and employees who have been discriminated against on the basis of disability. In a press release issued by the EEOC on June 29, 2020 regarding the case, a trail attorney for the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office, Nebra Campbell, explained that “failing to provide deaf applicants or employees a reasonable accommodation violates the ADA.”

Consult With Ocala, FL Unlawful Termination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida unlawful termination attorneys have dedicated their practice to fighting on behalf of employees who have been unlawfully fired. If you have been unlawfully terminated or have questions about your protection against unlawful termination under the federal employment laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida unlawful termination lawyers. Our employees’ rights law firm takes unlawful 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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