U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Woman Was Fired for Migraines at Work, Federal Agency Charges
MILWAUKEE – Rexnord Industries, LLC violated federal law by firing an employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed here today.
According to John Rowe, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago, the EEOC’s pre-suit administrative investigation revealed that Rexnord’s Stearns Division, located at 5150 South International Drive in Cudahy, Wis., fired Danielle Sullivan after she twice became ill at work. Sullivan suffers from migraines and was regarded by Rexnord as having a seizure disorder.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on actual or perceived disabilities. The EEOC sued after first trying to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for Sullivan and injunctive relief to end the discriminatory practices. The suit, captioned EEOC v. Rexnord Industries, LLC (Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-00777), was filed in federal court in Milwaukee and assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph.
“In America, federal law guarantees to everyone – disabled or not – the opportunity to get and keep a job,” Rowe said. “Rexnord appears to have denied Ms. Sullivan that opportunity and run afoul of federal law.”
EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson said, “The ADA has been on the books for around 20 years. Most employers achieve compliance as a matter of course, but there are those who don’t. It looks to us as though Rexnord may have slipped into the latter group as far as Danielle Sullivan is concerned, and we have undertaken this litigation to correct that.”
Milwaukee-based Rexnord is a privately owned corporation with 6,300 employees worldwide.
The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.