Fisher, Collins & Carter Fired Longtime Employees for Diabetes And Other Medical Conditions, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE – An Ellicott City, Md., surveying company will pay $77,000 and furnish other remedial relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to EEOC’s suit, Fisher, Collins & Carter, Inc. engaged in unlawful disability discrimination when it fired Robert Gray and Wayne Seifert shortly after it discovered, through a questionnaire on employees’ health conditions, medical issues and medications, that they both had both diabetes and hypertension. Gray had worked for the company for 15 years starting as a rodman (a surveyor’s technician) and was a party chief at his termination. Seifert had been employed since 2000 as a rodman. Both had demonstrated successful performance throughout their employment there.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual because of a disability, a record of a disability or perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 10-cv-02453) in U.S. District Court of Maryland after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.
Along with the monetary payment to both Gray and Seifert, the consent decree settling the lawsuit requires that Fisher, Collins & Carter institute and distribute a written policy to all employees on disability-based discrimination and its commitment to maintain employee medical information in accordance with the confidentiality requirements contained in the ADA. Additionally, the firm will provide three hours of anti-discrimination training to all management and human resource personnel, post a notice affirming its commitment to all federal equal employment opportunity laws and submit reports on disability-based discrimination to the EEOC for the agreement’s three-year duration.
“Many people, including Robert Gray and Wayne Seifert, have demonstrated their ability to perform their jobs just fine regardless of diabetes and hypertension,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “Both worked many years for Fisher, Collins & Carter and were able and willing to continue to do so. The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce laws against disability discrimination.”
In fiscal year 2010, private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC hit an unprecedented level of 99,922, which included a record-high number of disability charges (25,165) – an increase of 17.3 percent in disability charges over the prior fiscal year.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.