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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-15-11

EEOC Sues Insource Performance Solutions And Legrand North America For Disability Bias

Employee With Asthma Fired After Requesting Reasonable Accommodation, Federal Agency Charges

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Insource Performance Solutions, LLC and LeGrand  North America, Inc. violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when they  failed to accommodate and subsequently discharged a disabled employee, the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in lawsuit it filed yesterday. Insource is a North Carolina-based  corporation that provides labor services for its clients, including  LeGrand. LeGrand, a Delaware corporation, is a leading provider  of products and systems for electrical installations and information networks.

According  to the EEOC’s complaint, Kendell Nichols suffers from asthma. On Oct. 5, 2009, Nichols was hired by Insource  to work as a forklift driver at LeGrand’s warehouse and distribution facility  in Fort Mill, S.C. Around June 26, 2010, a LeGrand supervisor  instructed Nichols to count inventory at the LeGrand warehouse. Because of the heat in the warehouse at the  height at which inventory was located, Nichols was concerned that his asthma  would be triggered. In order to avoid  possible breathing difficulties, Nichols used his forklift to lower the  inventory to the floor in order to count it.

When  questioned about this method by a LeGrand supervisor, Nichols informed the  supervisor of his disability and requested an accommodation. Specifically, Nichols requested that he not  be required to stand atop an order picker (a high-reach lift machine) that  other employees were using to count the inventory, but instead be allowed to use  his forklift to lower inventory to the warehouse floor where he would count  it. Both LeGrand and Insource denied  Nichols’ request and sent Nichols home for the day. When Nichols returned to work around June 28,  he was fired by LeGrand and Insource for failing to complete the inventory  counting assignment.

Such alleged conduct violates the ADA, which protects employees from  discrimination based on their disabilities.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of South  Carolina, Rock Hill Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. LeGrand  North America, Inc. and Insource Performance Solutions, LLC, Civil Action  No.0:11-CV-02465-CMC-PGJ) after first attempting to reach a voluntary  settlement. The EEOC seeks back pay and  compensatory and punitive damages for Nichols, as well as injunctive relief.

“Employers  must remember that they are obligated under the ADA to provide disabled  employees with reasonable accommodations that allow them to perform the  essential functions of their jobs, unless doing so would be an undue hardship  on the employer,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Employers must also remember that the  definition of ‘disabled’ under the amendments to the ADA that became effective on Jan. 1, 2009, is  broad. More people with impairments that  arguably were not covered before the amendments are now clearly covered, and  must be accommodated according to the ADA’s  requirements.”

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available  on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.