Construction Products Manufacturer Fired Capable Worker Because of Cancer, Federal Agency Charged
DALLAS - DAP Products, Inc., a Dallas-based business and a leading manufacturer of home repair and construction products, violated federal law when it refused to allow a capable cancer-stricken employee to return to work and subsequently fired him because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, DAP discharged the employee from his position of production operator because of his prostate cancer, a physical impairment for which he underwent surgery. After a period of leave the employee was capable of safely continuing in his job, but DAP refused to allow him to return to work, and instead forced him to take extended leave. Then, after refusing to allow the employee to return, DAP fired him for having exceeded company leave limitations.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employer to make reasonable accommodations for known disabilities. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. DAP Products, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-3423-D) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the victim, as well as injunctive relief.
"Under federal law, cancer does not automatically disqualify a person from his job," said Meaghan Shepard, trial attorney for EEOC's Dallas District Office. "The issue is always only whether the employee is qualified to perform the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Through this litigation, we hope that this employer will come to a better understanding of its obligations."
Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for EEOC's Dallas District, added, "In our society's fight against cancer, an indiscriminate and cruel disease, we are happily seeing more and more survivors. So companies need to value their employees by continuing to provide them with fair treatment and equal opportunity."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.