Pirtek USA LLC is settling a disability discrimination lawsuit for $85,000.
Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace is a common occurrence, but agencies and individuals are working hard to combat it. Sometimes, charges of discrimination turn into lawsuits, and those lawsuits result in settlements. For example, Pirtek USA LLC, based in Rockledge, Florida, recently agreed to pay $85,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The suit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division. It alleged, “Pirtek violated federal law by firing an employee because of a perceived disability.”
According to the lawsuit, the employee involved in the suit was responsible for cutting and transporting hydraulic hoses. He worked for the company for 10 years. However, he was hospitalized back in late 2015 for “several weeks with pancreatitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pneumonia.” Despite being cleared by his physician to return to work without restrictions in March 2016, Pirtek fired him. The company claimed the employee was a “liability and it was afraid he would get injured on the job.”
In the suit, the EEOC accused the company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on disability or perceived disability.
In addition to the settlement funds, the three-year consent decree requires the company to “develop and distribute a written policy against disability discrimination and to conduct anti-discrimination training for management and human resources personnel.” Additionally, Pirtek must also “post a notice at its worksite about the lawsuit and submit written reports twice a year to the EEOC.”
When commenting on the settlement, Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District, said:
“Too often employers rely upon unfounded assumptions about an employee’s ability to do his job, rather than the results of a medical examination…This settlement reflects the EEOC’s commitment to protecting the rights of employees to be free from disability discrimination in the workplace, including through litigation when necessary.”
Bradley Anderson, acting director of the EEOC’s Miami District, also chimed in and said:
“Firing individuals because of a perceived disability is a long-standing violation of federal law. This resolution brings the EEOC closer to achieving its mission of eliminating disability discrimination from America’s workplace.”
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) exists to help advance opportunities in the workplace. It enforces federal laws put in place to help prevent employment discrimination, including disability, age, racial, and pregnancy discrimination.
The EEOC’s Miami District Office includes EEOC offices in Tampa, Miami, and San Juan. Its jurisdiction covers Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.