Agency Alleged Company Refused to Permit Disabled Worker to Exercise Bumping Rights in a Layoff
ATLANTA - Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation, a roofing materials manufacturer headquartered in Wayne, N.J., will pay $62,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that the employer unlawfully terminated a disabled worker from its Savannah facility when it refused to allow him to exercise his seniority rights to "bump" junior employees. According to the lawsuit, the employer's contract with the United Steelworkers Union included a provision that allowed senior employees to remain employed by "bumping" less senior employees in any layoff situation. Bumping refers to a senior employee removing a less senior employee from a position and assuming the position for himself. However, Irvin Carter, who had lost his right hand in an accident at the facility nine years earlier, was denied the right to bump junior employees when the company performed a reduction in force in 2012.
According to the EEOC, the reason was Carter's disability and/or his record of disability. The lawsuit alleges that GAF refused to permit Carter to bump into other positions based on an 11-pound lifting restriction contained in his nine-year-old medical evaluation. The EEOC said that at the time of the layoff, Carter's lifting restriction had been increased to 90 pounds, and he would have been able to perform the jobs which only had a 50-pound lifting requirement.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit on September 19, 2014 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia (Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-00205) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to monetary relief for the employee, includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting, and postings.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.