Specialty Maintenance Company Fired Employee With Glaucoma Because of Perceived Disability, Federal Agency Charges
HOUSTON - Houston specialty maintenance company Brock Services, LLC violated federal law when it terminated an employee after wrongfully concluding that glaucoma in his right eye was an impairment that prevented him from working, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, a worker was hired by Brock Services as a scaffolding team lead at its Port Arthur location. Due to an eye injury that predated his employment, the employee developed glaucoma in his right eye which resulted in some loss of vision. When he obtained a release from a medical provider, the EEOC alleges that Brock Services demanded a second and third examination before obtaining a release that Brock then used to fire the worker.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division (Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-212) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The federal agency is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Brock Services from engaging in any future disability discrimination. The EEOC also seeks back pay with pre-judgment interest, and compensatory and punitive damages, in amounts to be determined at trial, and other relief.
"An employer cannot fire a worker with a medical impairment because of myths, fears, and stereotypes," said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the EEOC's Houston District Office.
Regional Attorney Rudy Sustaita of the Houston District Office added, "Companies must live up to their responsibility to evaluate each employee's situation, without bias, based solely on the actual evidence - and they should not second-guess valid medical releases obtained by an employee."
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.