Settlement Services Companies Revoked Part-Time Schedule and Fired Employee Who Needed Dialysis, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE - Rockville, Md.-based First Title & Escrow, Inc., and its related company Streamline Title & Escrow Services, LLC, which operate as a single employer, will pay $95,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Tamara Littlejohn successfully worked as a title examiner for First Title & Escrow in Rockville when she had to be hospitalized and was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. When she was ready to return to work, Littlejohn requested and was initially permitted to return to work on a part-time basis so she could continue with dialysis. The company later revoked her reasonable accommodation of a part-time schedule and fired her because of her need for reasonable accommodation and/or because of her disability, the EEOC charged.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of disability. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with a disability unless the employer can show that doing so would be an undue hardship. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (EEOC v. First Title & Escrow, Inc., et al. Civil Action No. 8:14-cv-03083-TDC), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $95,000 in monetary relief to Littlejohn, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins First Title & Escrow from violating the ADA in the future, including denying reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. First Title & Escrow will provide ADA training to all supervisors and managers and post a notice regarding the settlement. The company will also report to the EEOC on how it handled any complaints of alleged disability discrimination.
"This company initially did the right thing and provided a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a serious illness, but for some reason revoked its proper decision," Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., district director of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, said. "The EEOC will come to bat for victims of such harmful actions against people with disabilities."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "First Title worked with us to resolve this lawsuit quickly and amicably. We are pleased that this settlement provides meaningful monetary and equitable relief designed to prevent disability discrimination."
The EEOC Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.