U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Wyoming Manufacturing Company Subjected Veteran to Harassment and Forced Him Out Because of His PTSD, Federal Agency Charges
PHOENIX - Mine Rite Technologies, LLC violated federal law by subjecting an employee at its Buffalo, Wyo., location to a hostile work environment based on his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The EEOC also charged the company with forcing the employee out of his job because of his disability.
According to the EEOC's suit, the employee, who had served in the military, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While he was employed with Mine Rite as a welder, the employee's supervisor repeatedly referred to him as a "psycho" and uttered similar epithets about him to his coworkers, the EEOC said. The supervisor also referred to Thursday as "Psycho Thursday," because that was the day of the week that the employee attended therapy sessions at a Veterans Administration facility to treat his PTSD. The lawsuit also alleges that Mine Rite's two principal owners were aware of the ongoing harassment but took no steps to put an end to the abuse. The EEOC further said that the harassment became intolerable and that the employee was forced to quit to avoid further abuse.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination and harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Mine Rite Technologies, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-00063-SWS) in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discriminatory practices in the future.
"The ADA protects our veterans who suffer from PTSD," said EEOC Phoenix District Office Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "No employer should ever allow harassment of our veterans who served this country simply because they are getting the care they need and deserve."
Elizabeth Cadle, director of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, added, "Veterans should not have to hide the fact that they have disabilities and are receiving treatment. The agency will continue to fight against employers who discriminate against veterans with PTSD."
The EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.