Employees with Disabilities Denied Reasonable Accommodations, Federal Agency Charges
Newburgh, N.Y. - KTF Enterprises, Inc. and Kirker Enterprises, Inc., which operate a nail polish factory in Newburgh, New York, violated federal law when they denied reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, after acquiring the Newburgh factory in 2015, the companies withheld reasonable accommodations from employees who needed them. For example, one longtime employee, whose leg is amputated below the knee and who uses a prosthesis, asked to have a stool to sit on so that he would not need to stand throughout his shift. The companies denied the request and instead later terminated him.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), when an employer is aware that an employee with a disability needs an accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of his job, it must provide an accommodation, unless doing so would be an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (EEOC v. KTF Enterprises, Inc. and Kirker Enterprises, Inc., Civil Action No. 19-cv-6611) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC will seek back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. The agency's litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Kirsten Peters and supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.
"The requirements of the ADA are well established," said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. "Terminating an employee because that employee needs a reasonable accommodation for a disability is a form of disability discrimination under the law."
Kevin Berry, EEOC New York district director, states "Reasonable accommodations that allow employees to do their jobs are a benefit to employees and employers alike. They enable employees to earn a living and allow employers to retain qualified and productive employees."
The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
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.