U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Garden Center Agrees to Pay $50,000 to Worker Fired Because of Hemophilia
BALTIMORE – A Davidson, Md., garden center will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit for firing a worker because he has hemophilia, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
In its suit, (Civil Action No. 8:10-cv-02709-RWT), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, the EEOC charged that Homestead Gardens, the largest enclosed garden center in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C, metropolitan areas, engaged in disability discrimination when it fired Richard Starkey. Starkey had been employed as a stocker when his mother disclosed through a casual conversation with Homestead Gardens that her son had hemophilia. He was told not to return to work because of Homestead’s perception of his disability.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability, or who is perceived to have one. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Along with the monetary payment to Starkey, the consent decree settling the suit requires that Homestead Gardens provide the following relief:
“Society’s myths and fears about a perceived disability are often more disabling than any physical limitation that may flow from a physical impairment,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “This settlement achieves the EEOC’s objectives by providing relief to the victim while implementing measures to prevent future discrimination and retaliation.”
The EEOC enforces the ADA and other federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.