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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-30-11

EEOC Files Suit Against Garney Construction and Georgia Power for Disability Discrimination

Contractor Withdrew Job Offer to Applicant With Epilepsy Because of Contract With Electric Utility Company

KANSAS CITY – Garney Construction Co. and Georgia Power Company violated federal law when Garney withdrew a job offer of heavy equipment operator previously made to an applicant with controlled epilepsy because of Georgia Power’s physical examination requirement that excluded people taking the applicant’s epilepsy medication, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today in federal court. 

According to the EEOC’s suit, Garney offered a front-end loader job to Bryan Mimmovich at its construction site at the Georgia Power plant in Juliette, Ga.  Mimmovich had worked for Garney operating a front-end loader on two previous occasions.  This time, the contract with Georgia Power required applicants for the job to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination or an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) physical examination for crane operators.  Mimmovich was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 12 and had been seizure-free with medication since 1988.  Nonetheless, he could not pass the DOT physical examination utilized by Garney pursuant to Georgia Power’s instructions because he was on medication for epilepsy. Garney subsequently withdrew the job offer citing contractual requirements with Georgia Power.

Such alleged behavior violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects workers from discrimination based upon disability. The EEOC filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. 

“Refusing to hire a qualified job applicant with epilepsy long controlled by medication defies logic and violates the law,” said Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office.  “Congress passed the ADA to protect Americans with disabilities from fears and myths about their conditions.  People with epilepsy whose seizures are controlled by medication should not be excluded from any job because employers fear on-the-job accidents.”

Garney Construction Co. does business throughout the United States and specializes in water-control work.  It is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. and employs 650 employees.  Georgia Power is an electric utility in the state of Georgia.  It employs 8,800 employees and is headquartered in Atlanta.

The EEOC St. Louis District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and southern Illinois, with Area Offices in Kansas City and Oklahoma City.

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