The Americans with Disabilities Act expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against disabled people in all employment practices ranging from hiring and firing to promotions and job assignments. Furthermore, this landmark federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations such that disabled employees can perform the essential functions of their job.
If an employer fails to meet its obligations under the ADA, it faces an enforcement action brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will investigate accusation of discrimination, seek to resolve the matter if such discrimination is uncovered and, if necessary, pursue legal action.
As it turns out, the EEOC recently facilitated a $100,000 settlement between a Plymouth-based Iraq war vet and a national plumbing outfit over allegations of disability discrimination.
What exactly did the employee allege?
The employee was employed by Roto-Rooter for ten-plus years, advancing from a role in the field to a managerial position. At various points during his tenure with the company, his Army unit was deployed to Iraq, where he ultimately suffered combat-related injuries to his leg, back and head.
In his complaint to the EEOC, he alleged that upon his return to work in 2009, Roto-Rooter declined to put him in a position similar to that which he had held prior to his various tours of duty and his injuries.
What happened after the filing of the complaint with the EEOC?
Last week, the EEOC and Roto-Rooter signed a conciliation agreement dictating that the plumbing giant must pay the former employee $100,000 to settle charges that it violated the provisions of the ADA. The move effectively resolves the matter, meaning no litigation will be pursued by the EEOC.
Did the terms of the conciliation agreement call for anything else?
Yes. In addition to the settlement, Roto-Rooter agreed to create more ADA-focused training materials to be distributed among staff, and to ensure future requests for reasonable accommodations are both honored and reported to the EEOC.
Cases like these serve to underscore how anyone who believes they have been victimized by employment discrimination in any form should give very serious consideration to speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about their rights.