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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
12-10-12

EEOC Sues American Tool & Mold for Disability Bias against Worker

Federal  Agency Charges Company Fired Worker Regarded As Disabled

MIAMI  - American Tool & Mold, a Clearwater, Fla., company that designs and  manufactures injection molds for plastics, violated federal law when it fired a  man because it regarded him as disabled, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According  to the EEOC's suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of  Florida, the company terminated Michael Matanic because he did not provide a  medical release relating to a six-year-old successful back surgery.  At the time of his termination, Matanic was  in good health and had a recent medical examination showing no physical  limitations on his ability to perform his job as a process engineer.  The EEOC further charged that Matanic actually  per­formed his job with American Tool and Mold for two months without incident  or injury while he attempted to obtain the outdated medical documentation that it  had required as part of its allegedly discriminatory post-offer medical  screening process.

Requiring  some employees to provide medical documentation for old medical conditions  violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers  from discrimin­ating against employees and applicants who are disabled, have a  record of disability or who are regarded as disabled.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to  reach a voluntary settlement out of court.   The lawsuit, EEOC v. American Tool  & Mold, (Case No. 8:12-cv-2772), seeks back pay for Matanic,  compensatory and punitive damages, changes to the company's medical examination  criteria, and other injunctive relief.

"Employers  must refrain from making workplace decisions based on fears or stereotypes  about people with real or perceived disabilities," said Robert Weisberg,  Regional Attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office.  "Not only do these actions violate federal  law, but they also deny qualified workers the opportunity to be productive  members of this nation's work force."

The  EEOC's Miami District Director, Malcolm Medley, said, "When an employer makes  an employment decision based on unfounded speculation about future financial  risks associated with a disability or perceived disability, it violates federal  law.  The EEOC will act vigorously to  protect the rights of workers who are disabled or whom employers perceive as  disabled."

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  The Miami District Office's jurisdiction  includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Further information  about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.