Federal Agency Charges Manufacturer Violated Federal Law by Refusing to Hire Employee Based on Gender and Association with Her Disabled Child
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced it has filed a disability and sex discrimination lawsuit against global manufacturer The Timken Company. The suit alleges that Timken refused to hire an employee for a full-time position as a process technician because of her gender and because she is the mother of a disabled child.
Timken manufactures precision ball bearings and other friction management and power transmission products. The company employs more than 25,000 employees world-wide.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Timken violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to hire Carmen Halloren for a full-time position in July 2007. Halloren, whose son is disabled, had worked at a Timken facility in Randleman, N.C., as a part-time process associate for four years. The EEOC charged that Halloren applied for a full-time process technician position, but Timken refused to hire Halloren due to concerns about her ability to work full-time and care for a disabled child.
The EEOC asserted that Timken's conduct violated the ADA, which protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on association with people with disabilities, and Title VII, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. The Timken Company, Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-00113), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court. The suit seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages for Halloren, as well as injunctive and other non-monetary relief.
“Employers must recognize that they cannot discriminate against employees because they happen to be caregivers for disabled children or others with disabilities,” said Lynette A. Barnes, the EEOC's regional attorney for the Charlotte District Office. “The EEOC charges that this is clearly what happened in this case -- Timken discriminated against Ms. Halloren because of her caregiver status. Women who are caregivers must be afforded the same rights and privileges of employment as men and other women who are not caregivers. It’s appalling to think that any employer would penalize the parent of a disabled child -- whether that parent is male or female -- because he or she provides care to a person who has a disability.”
Tina Burnside, supervisory trial attorney in the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, added, “Under the ADA and Title VII, employers cannot make employment decisions based on stereotypical assumptions that a female employee with a disabled child would have to miss work or could not perform the job because the employee provides care for a disabled person.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.