Maintenance Company Denied Hearing-Impaired Employee a Reasonable Accommodation and Fired Her, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT - Powerlink Facilities Management Services, a Michigan-based management and maintenance services company, has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for failing to accommodate a hearing-impaired employee and firing her because of her disability, the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Powerlink uses training videos during its orientation. Instead of providing this employee with a timely and reasonable accommodation, Powerlink did not allow her to receive orientation or start work for several months. The company claimed she could not complete its orientation process since its videos lacked closed captioning for the hearing-impaired.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. Powerlink Facilities Management Services, Case No. 2:19-cv-12055) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking monetary relief for the employee and an injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in this type of conduct in the future.
"Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified employee with a disability violates federal law as well as being unfair and wasteful," explained Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC. "Powerlink should have considered the various ways to accommodate this employee. Instead, the company lost a valuable employee and gained a federal lawsuit."
According to its website, Powerlink Facilities Management Services was started in 2003 by Link Howard, III. The company has hundreds of employees working in the United States and Canada.
The EEOC's Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.
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 subscribin