Logistics Service Provider Fired Administrator With a Benign Brain Tumor, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE - Optimal Solutions & Technologies (OST, Inc.), a provider of cyber, engineering, logistics, and managed services, violated federal law when it fired an employee because he had a benign brain tumor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the suit, Michael Tyson began working as a senior SharePoint administrator at OST's Hyattsville, Md., location in June 2016. In August 2016, Tyson informed his supervisor that he had a benign brain tumor which would require about six weeks of radiation treatment beginning in October. Tyson explained that the treatments would be scheduled after work and would not affect his ability to perform his job. The EEOC says that on a few different occasions the supervisor shared his concerns with Tyson's colleagues that Tyson would not be able to perform his job because of his medical condition.
Tyson performed his job well and received positive feedback from his managers, the EEOC said. Despite his good job performance, OST abruptly fired Tyson on Sept. 27, 2016, about one month after he disclosed his medical condition and only one week before he was scheduled to begin his radiation treatment.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Optimal Solutions & Technologies (OST, Inc,), Civil Action No. 8:17-cv-02861) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. As part of the suit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief prohibiting the company from engaging in any employment practices in the future that discriminate based on disability.
"Mr. Tyson performed his job well, but OST rushed to terminate him based on unfounded conjecture and biases," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "The ADA was enacted to prevent employers from making employment decisions due to fear-based reactions to someone's disability."
Kevin Berry, acting district director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, added, "Even though Mr. Tyson assured his supervisor that his medical condition and treatment would not have an impact on his ability to do his job, his employer assumed the worst and fired him based on unsupported speculation or stereotypes about his disability. That's flat-out unfair and illegal."
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
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.