Utah Duplication Company Fired Employee Because of His Parkinson’s Disease, Federal Agency Charged
DENVER – A Salt Lake City-based media duplication company will pay $65,000 to a former employee and furnish other injunctive relief in a consent decree to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC v. CDI Media, Inc., No. 2-07-CV-00695-DS, CDI Media failed to provide reasonable accommodations to help sales executive Paul Guertin continue a successful sales career as his symptoms of Parkinson’s disease worsened. Guertin’s requests for accommodations included requests to place him closer to his assistant to reduce the need for walking and to provide phone and computer equipment to ease the need for writing. Rather than providing accommodations, the EEOC charged, CDI placed Guertin on a “Performance Improvement Plan” for his alleged faltering sales and then terminated him before the 90-day performance improvement period expired. The EEOC maintained that Guertin was actually fired because of his disability and in retaliation for his accommodation requests.
Discrimination based on disabilities, such as Parkinson’s disease, is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1991, as is retaliation against an employee for requesting a reasonable accommodation. The EEOC filed suit against CDI after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
Besides the $65,000 in damages, CDI Media agreed in the consent decree to revamp its discrimination policies and will conduct additional training for all of its employees on disability discrimination, retaliation and reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.
“No one should have to endure this kind of treatment in the workplace, particularly while already experiencing the effects of a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Utah. “It is illegal and we hope employers will be educated about their responsibilities under the ADA.”
Rayford Irvin, acting district director for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “Especially in light of the recent amendments by Congress to the ADA, which went into effect on January 1, many more people with disabilities are covered by the statute, and the EEOC will continue to focus its efforts on the enforcing that crucial civil rights law.”
According to company information, CDI Media replicates audio and video CDs, DVDs, tapes, and other forms of digital reproduction, and offers creative, production and fulfillment services.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on August 7, 2009.
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