Employee With Lupus, Breathing Problems and Enlarged Heart Denied Any Accommodation, Federal Agency Charged
NASHVILLE – Celestica Inc., a Canadian electronics manufacturer service company doing business in the United States as Celestica Corporation, will pay $102,100 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC’s suit (No. 3:09-0813, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee) had charged that Celestica willfully ignored requests for reasonable accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). An employee, hired through a placement agency, worked inside a 400,000-square-foot warehouse in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., operated by Celestica. She has lupus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiomyopathy. She requested use of her own electric wheelchair to get to her desk inside the warehouse from a handicapped parking space close to the side entrance. Although the placement agency allowed use of the wheelchair, Celestica ignored her requests and acted as if they had never occurred, the EEOC said. She continued working for a few months without any accommodation, but ultimately quit.
Denial of a reasonable accommodation to an otherwise qualified individual with a disability violates Title I of the ADA, unless providing the accommodation would pose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
Besides providing monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by Judge Todd Campbell on April 7, 2010, enjoins Celestica from further refusing or ignoring any request from an individual with a disability for a reasonable accommodation; requires the company to issue its policy regarding reasonable accommodations under the ADA to all employees in the United States; train its site managers and human resources managers on reasonable accommodations; report requests for reasonable accommodations to the EEOC; have the trainer administer a test after the training and review the test results with the trainees; and post notices on the settlement and the ADA.
“Employers cannot simply ignore requests for reasonable accommodations of a qualified individual with a disability,” said Faye A. Williams, the EEOC regional attorney for the Memphis District Office. “Rather, they must take an active role in determining whether the accommodation can be provided or whether it would impose an undue hardship. We are pleased that Celestica joined us in a quick resolution to save all parties time and expense.”
Celestica, Inc., located in Toronto, Canada, is a global provider of services for electronics manufacturers. It has over 38,000 employees worldwide.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation's laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.