A&A Contracting Fired Worker Regarded as Being Disabled, Federal Agency Charges
ST. LOUIS -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed suit against A&A Contracting, a St. Louis construction company, charging that the company violated federal law by firing one of its permanent construction workers because it regarded him as disabled.
In its suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the EEOC charges that A&A Contracting terminated Rickie Wells because of his history of liver and kidney problems, including cancer. At the time of his termination, Wells was in good health and had been cleared to work by his doctor, but A&A Contracting became aware of his health history when he applied for the company’s health insurance coverage.
Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) 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. A&A Contracting, (Case No. 4:09-cv-01060 E.D. Mo), seeks back pay for Wells along with compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement and other injunctive relief.
“Society praises the bravery and determination of those who fight cancer, but some employers haven’t gotten the message,” said Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney for the EEOC's St. Louis District Office. “Mr. Wells bravely fought and won his battle against cancer, but then he had to turn around and face discrimination from his new employer. Businesses need to view employees such as Mr. Wells as the strong, resilient workers they are, not as potential weak links or future financial risks.”
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.
This page was last modified on July 7, 2009.
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