U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Agency Charges Concrete Company Refused to Accommodate Payroll Manager, Then Fired Her Because of Disability
HOUSTON - Baker Concrete Construction, Inc. violated federal law by refusing to accommodate and then firing an employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The EEOC's suit alleges that Baker Concrete terminated payroll manager Maria Castillo in 2013 because of her asthma after the company refused to provide her with a reasonable accommodation for her medical condition. The suit charges that after Castillo, a nine-year employee of the company, was denied a reasonable accommodation, she was fired by the company, which told her that she was disabled, could no longer perform her job and would just become ill again should she return from leave.
Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees that will allow them to perform the essential functions of their job, unless doing so would be an undue hardship for the employer. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-02746) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in future employment discrimination, as well as back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits and injunctive equitable relief.
"Although the ADA has been the law for more than 20 years, employers continue to fail to accommodate or terminate employees with disabilities, especially in circumstances, such as this one, where Ms. Castillo had a condition that necessitated treatment and recuperation," said R.J. Ruff Jr., district director of the EEOC's Houston District Office. "It is critical that employers abide by the requirements of the ADA."
Jim Sacher, EEOC regional attorney for the Houston District Office said, "The EEOC will continue to sue employers who deny appropriate accommodations and gainful employment to qualified individuals with disabilities."
The Houston District Office of the EEOC oversees Southeast Texas, which includes Houston, as well as the New Orleans Field Office, which covers the State of Louisiana.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.