An employee asks his supervisor for time off to have surgery on an ailing shoulder that he claims he hurt on the job several months ago. He tried to work through the pain, but couldn’t tolerate it any longer. But instead of granting time off for surgery and starting the interactive accommodations process the ADA requires, he’s fired. Is this an ADA violation? According to EEOC, yes.
For the 2nd time since 2009, Product Fabricators is being charged with disability discrimination. According to an EEOC complaint, the sheet metal manufacturer fired an injured employee instead of accommodating him; a move EEOC alleges was retaliation for the employee’s earlier participation in another EEOC disability discrimination investigation. It did so only after questioning him about information he had provided to the EEOC in an earlier investigation. That inquiry was looking into allegations that the company violated the ADA by requiring another employee to reveal information about prescription drug use and then regarding him as disabled. EEOC investigators interviewed this latter employee in that case. When asked about time off for surgery, the EEOC claims, Product Fabricators officials demanded that he sign a prepared statement concerning the interview. Then it allegedly fired him at the end of his shift.
A reminder to employers: Interfering with an EEOC investigation increases your risk. Any move seen as discouraging an employee from participating in an EEOC investigation is the civil equivalent of witness tampering.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.